Scarborough borough's infection rate dips slightly as decision due on whether to keep North Yorkshire in Tier 2

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Scarborough residents will find out today if they are to face tougher coronavirus restrictions amidst another fall in infection levels.

According to the latest Government figures, the borough’s seven-day infection rate has fallen to 238.1 per 100,000.

That is down from 240.9 yesterday and 259.3 this time last week.

The average rate for England is 402.6 per 100,000.

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Health Secretary Matt Hancock will announce new Tier restrictions this afternoon.Health Secretary Matt Hancock will announce new Tier restrictions this afternoon.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock will announce new Tier restrictions this afternoon.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock is due to announce the results of the most recent Tier system review later this afternoon.

There have been warnings from Scarborough and North Yorkshire County Council bosses that the district could be placed in the Tier 3 alert level following a surge in cases earlier this month.

Meanwhile speculation has been rife about whether schools will re-open as planned next week.

Under current proposals, secondary schools and colleges will provide lessons online during the first week of term for most year groups.

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Only pupils in exam year groups - Years 11 and 13, vulnerable children and children of key workers will be in school or college from January 4.

Government plans are for other secondary year groups to return on January 11.

Current plans are for primary school children and students attending special schools or pupil referral services to go back on January 4.

Vocational exams scheduled for the first week of term are also planned to go ahead.

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Schools will also have the option of setting up coronavirus testing, providing free Covid-19 tests to staff and students from the first week of January.

The testing is aimed at identifying people with the disease who are not showing symptoms - estimated to be as many as one in three cases.

That testing in schools is optional and up to individual schools.

Amanda Newbold, North Yorkshire County Council’s Assistant Director of Education and Skills, said: “We have managed to maintain good attendance at our schools throughout the pandemic, with the number of pupils attending schools consistently above the national average.

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“It’s vitally important that we keep children and young people in education. By doing so we are avoiding any detrimental impact on pupils’ wellbeing and social development and making sure they don’t miss out on opportunities later in life.

“Schools have put in a great deal of hard work over the past months to put in place robust risk assessments and safety measures to ensure schools remain safe places for children to be.

“The staggered return to school being introduced nationally in January, along with the option of offering coronavirus testing in school will add to this work.”

Councillor Patrick Mulligan, North Yorkshire County Council’s Executive Member for Education and Skills, added: “We would like to thank parents, pupils, school staff and the many others for all their hard work in ensuring schools stayed open and safe.

“It has been a difficult year and we should be cautiously optimistic that the new year will see schools and education will see a gradual return to normality.”