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Keeping pupils safe on school transport this September

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PEMBROKESHIRE County Council is sharing important details on the safe operation of school transport ahead of the return to school next month.

Planning has been ongoing throughout the summer with pupils due to return to schools from September 1.

In the first instance, parents and carers are still encouraged to take their own child/children to school wherever possible using active travel by walking or cycling.

If private car use is necessary, parents and carers are encouraged to park away from the school site and use active travel to travel the remaining distance.

For those planning on using school/college transport, all education transport routes will operate as normal and timetables will remain the same as before the Covid-19 situation.

Pupils/students should not travel if they are: experiencing any Covid-19 symptoms – new and continuous cough, high temperature or loss of taste and smell self-isolating as a result of Covid-19 symptoms or sharing a household with somebody with symptoms clinically extremely vulnerable

As part of the measures to keep pupils/students as safe as possible, school transport operators will be continuing their increased cleaning regimes on all vehicles.

This includes the cleaning of all touch points after each passenger journey and a full deep clean of each vehicle at the end of the day.

Before boarding and when leaving the vehicle, pupils/students should use the hand sanitisers provided and should avoid touching surfaces wherever possible.

With all pupils set to return to school, please note that it will not be possible to ensure social distancing between pupils on school transport.

However, front seats of larger buses will be out of bounds to maintain social distancing between the driver and the pupils.

It will be mandatory for all secondary school pupils and college students to wear face coverings whilst travelling on all education transport- including taxis utilised for school transport – unless they are exempt.

For primary school pupils the wearing of face coverings is recommended and actively encouraged.

Extra dedicated education transport is being put in place for eligible pupils who normally travel on public transport but will not be able to do so in September due to reduced capacity on service buses.

To maintain on-vehicle social distancing protocols, concessionary school bus passes will only be issued before the start of the new academic year if it is clearly identifiable from the number of passes issued that there are going to be spare seats available on a particular
Route.

Applications for other routes will be reviewed as soon as the numbers travelling have been finalised.

If parents DO NOT require School Transport for their child in September 2020, please contact the Council’s Integrated Transport Unit (ITU) on 01437 775222 / 01437 776363 or:
school.transport@pembrokeshire.gov.uk

Pembrokeshire County Council Cabinet Member for Education and Lifelong Learning, Cllr Guy Woodham, emphasised that the safety of pupils, students and transport staff has been at the heart of the Process.

Cllr Woodham added: “Covid-19 has thrown up a series of unprecedented challenges to how we provide safe transport to and from schools and college.

“While social distancing may not be possible for pupils and students aboard education transport, the measures introduced following discussions between Council officers and school transport providers will help keep everyone as safe as possible.

“There will be mandatory wearing of face coverings for all secondary school pupils and college students and we would also urge primary school pupils to wear a face covering on all school transport too.

“With everyone continuing to practise good hand hygiene we will be in the best position possible to ensure learners are able to travel safely and ready to return to their classes.”

Further information on school transport from September can be found here: https://www.pembrokeshire.gov.uk/children-and-schools-transition-to-the-new-normal/covid-19-school-transport-information

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Second fire-break lockdown is likely early next year says Deputy Economy Minister

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A SECOND fire-break lockdown is likely in Wales in early January or February, a Welsh Government minister has warned.

Deputy Economy and Transport Minister, Lee Waters, said the current firebreak was unlikely to be the last in Wales – with England “expected” to follow.

Wales is currently in the middle of a two-week national lockdown to try and control the spread of coronavirus, he said.

Speaking on BBC Radio Wales Sunday Supplement programme he said people should be prepared to come in and out of lockdowns until a Covid-19 vaccine is found.

He said: “This is not the last lockdown we are going to see the projections we published in a worst case scenario show it’s likely we are going to need another firebreak in January or
February.”

He added that Wales is now witnessing a second peak, with critical care admissions increasing by 57% this week alone, and that was why the Welsh Government has introduced this “short, sharp” intervention.”

Lee Waters thinks that one lockdown will not be enough

Plaid Cymru said it was vital the test and trace system was improved during this firebreak to break the cycle of “devastating” national lockdowns.
“It is concerning to hear talk of plans for future firebreaks at the start of this reset,” said shadow health minister Rhun ap Iorwerth.
“If the Welsh Government puts effective measures in place over the next fortnight, a new strategy for the months ahead, it should be aiming to avoid having to return to these tight nationwide restrictions.
“Ministers must resolve the issues within the test, trace, support and isolate system to enable the newly adopted zero-Covid strategy to be successfully implemented.”

Meanwhile, a 28-year-old man has been charged with criminal damage and contravention of coronavirus regulations after allegedly being filmed removing plastic from items in a Tesco store.

Gwilym Owen, 28, will appear before magistrates on November 24 following the incident in the Bangor Tesco Extra store on Friday.

North Wales Police said Owen, from Anglesey, has been further charged with several public order offences.

Owen allegedly posted the video of himself on his Facebook account. A man is heard saying “since when has clothes been exempt?”, “rip the f***ers off!” and “kids’ f***ing clothes, it is a disgrace.”

As staff attempt to challenge the man and to stop him, he swore at them. He can be heard saying: “Since when have clothes been non-essential?”

A spokesperson for Tesco said: “Under new restrictions set out by the Welsh Government, we are currently unable to sell ‘non-essential’ items in our stores.
“Our colleagues have worked hard to put these measures in place and we ask that customers please respect these restrictions.”

Despite a petition which has now more than 50,000 signatures, The Welsh Government said: “We are not reviewing the requirements for supermarkets not to sell non-essentials we are going to review how it’s working in practice. Clearly there are some bumps.”

On the Andrew Marr Show, Labour’s health minister, Vaughan Gething also confirmed that the Welsh Government’s ban on the sale of non-essential items in supermarkets will also remain in place.

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Crabb urges us to ‘not drop the ball’ on polio vaccinations

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PRESELI MP Stephen Crabb has joined celebrated Paralympian and TV Presenter Ade Adepitan MBE and UK polio survivors this World Polio Day to produce a short film.

The group, all champions of the One Last Push campaign, have produced a video released on October 24th (World Polio Day), reminding people that ‘we can’t drop the ball’ on the fight for eradication. The film is inspired by Ade’s role as a professional basketball player.

This August, Africa was certified wild poliovirus free. This landmark achievement was made possible by global collaboration and the unwavering dedication of thousands of people on the ground working tirelessly to ensure every last child receives the vaccine. The UK has played a leading role in this remarkable progress – last November, the UK Government pledged to vaccinate 400 million children a year until 2023 against polio.

Mr Crabb is an advocate for polio eradication and a champion of the One Last Push campaign. He says: “Despite remarkable progress, polio is still a reality for children in Pakistan and Afghanistan. The UK must continue playing a leading role, and continue to support partners, organisations, and the people on the ground working towards eradication. Organisations like Rotary International have also played an important part in combating polio, with their Purple4Polio campaign, which has been well supported in Pembrokeshire.

“With the success in Africa, we now need ‘One Last Push’ to help free other countries of this terrible disease.”

Despite the good news, challenges to polio eradication efforts such as mobile populations, weak routine immunisations, community refusals, have been exacerbated this year by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Now is the time to bring together voices of support for World Polio Day to ensure we don’t lose the gains we’ve worked so hard to achieve and continue to keep our foot on the pedal until polio is wiped out for good.

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Driver mounted pavements and hit parked vehicles after drinking two bottles of wine

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A MAN who got behind the wheel of his car after drinking two bottles of wine, mounted pavements and crashed into two parked vehicles has been banned from driving.

Andrew McAteer, of The Green in Pembroke, put the safety of pedestrians at risk as he mounted kerbs on the wrong side of the road in an attempt to get away from Dyfed-Powys Police officers on September 19.

The 43-year-old was brought to the attention of the Pembrokeshire Roads Policing Unit when he pulled out in front of a marked police vehicle so suddenly it caused the driving officer to break sharply.

Because of the way the vehicle was being driven, officers illuminated their blue lights to indicate that he should pull over and stop.

However, McAteer did not comply.

PC Richard Mycroft said: “McAteer led officers on a pursuit of approximately 1.5 miles around the streets of Pembroke Dock.

“He was seen to mount the kerb and drive on the wrong side of the road, also colliding with two parked vehicles.

“It was only when he turned into a dead end car park that he came to a stop.

“His manner of driving was incredibly dangerous and reckless – putting a number of people at risk.”

The defendant finally stopped in a car park off Western Way, where he left the car and tried to run from officers.

He was taken to the ground and attempts were made to carry out a breath test.

PC Mycroft said: “As I was preparing the breathalyser, he said ‘I’m over the limit and that’s all I’m saying’, before refusing to be tested.

“He added ‘it doesn’t matter, I’m losing my licence’ when asked if he was refusing to provide a sample’.”

McAteer was arrested for failing to provide a roadside specimen of breath, and was taken to custody, where he also refused to provide a blood sample.

Despite having no recollection of the incident, the defendant said he had drunk two bottles of wine that day and admitted the offences.

He was charged with dangerous driving, failing to stop when requested by police, failing to stop following a collision, and failing to provide a sample of breath.

He appeared at Swansea Crown Court for sentencing on Thursday, October 22. He was sentenced to eight months in prison, suspended for 12 months, and was disqualified from driving for three years.

He must also complete a rehabilitation activity requirement, an alcohol treatment course, and must sit an extended driving test.

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