This article was first published in the March/April 2021 issues of the Bradley Stoke Journal and Stoke Gifford Journal magazines. [Links to follow]
The ongoing coronavirus crisis means it’s been a while since we’ve been able to distribute a magazine, so we thought we’d run through a brief timeline of what’s happened in the meantime!
The second national lockdown began on 5th November, just days before our November/December magazines were delivered. On coming out of lockdown on 2nd December, South Gloucestershire and neighbouring Bristol were placed in Tier 3 (Very High alert).
The first weeks of December saw worrying developments in Bradley Stoke with the 7-day infection rate in the town peaking at around 600 per 100,000 – the highest in the West of England at the time and well above the national average.
Bradley Stoke’s Wheatfield Primary School experienced what is thought to be one of the worst outbreaks seen anywhere is South Gloucestershire with 61 cases among pupils and staff on Friday 14th December. With the situation deteriorating further over the following weekend, the school decided to close for the remainder of the term.
There was disappointment on 19th December when the government decreed that South Gloucestershire must remain in Tier 3, despite neighbouring Bristol being dropped down to Tier 2. However, this soon became academic as the country was forced into a third lockdown from 5th January.
News of the first vaccine doses being given at Concord Medical Centre in Little Stoke on 8th January provided some welcome cheer as did the announcement of a roadmap out of lockdown on 22nd February.
However, our area found itself unexpectedly thrust into the national spotlight on 28th February when it was announced that two cases of the Brazilian (P.1) mutant had been identified locally (out of just six in the UK), leading to the introduction of community surge testing.
Schooling in lockdown
The Olympus Academy Trust has kindly provided a few words about how it has supported learners and their families during these difficult times…
Since the first lockdown in March 2020, the Trust and school staff have worked tirelessly across all nine primary and secondary schools to provide education in school in a safe environment for vulnerable children, those with a care plan and children of key workers.
On average across all schools, attendance for the current (third) lockdown has been recorded at around 700 learners (just over 10 percent of total roll), but significantly more in primary than secondary, each day.
To support children’s learning at home, the Trust bought 160 Kindles for primary schools to issue for home use and provided at least 300 laptops for home use by secondary school students.
The Department for Education provided a further 400 laptops (with another 160+ on the way) for schools to issue for home use as well.
The Trust also provided 50 families with internet access or additional data allowances.
Trust CEO Dave Baker said:
“It has been a remarkable effort to support every family in need of devices or internet access that we knew about. Participation levels have been high and where lack of access and/or engagement at home was too difficult to overcome, learners were provided with places in school to be able to be supported with their learning.”
- 5th November 2020
Start of 2nd national lockdown
- 2nd December 2020
Three-tier system introduced
- 8th December 2020
First vaccination in the UK
- 14th December 2020
61 virus cases recorded at one Bradley Stoke primary school
- 18th December 2020
Bradley Stoke’s virus rate is the highest in the West of England at almost 600 cases per 1,000
- 19th December 2020
Government decrees that South Glos must remain in Tier 3
- 5th January 2021
Start of 3rd national lockdown
- 7th January 2021
First vaccinations given at a GP hub in the Stokes
- 18th January 2021
South Glos Council opens a community rapid testing unit at Bradley Stoke Leisure Centre
- 22nd February 2021
Prime minister announces roadmap for relaxing restrictions
- 1st March 2021
Community surge testing begins for residents of five postcode sectors in the Stokes
- 8th March 2021
Primary school pupils resume school-based learning
- 15th March 2021
All secondary school students expected to be back at local schools