The president of the Royal College of Pediatrics and Child Health, Dr Camilla Kingdon, told the Daily Telegraph that children should not have to “carry the burden” of the pandemic.
She criticized the current system in high schools where students are required to take lateral flow tests twice a week.
“You are asking perfectly healthy children to be tested, with the potential to be excluded (from school), there is just a real concern that we are increasing a level of chaos in the system that is unnecessary”, she declared.
Schools have started to step up measures to curb the spread of the virus after a rise in infections, although ministers have told them they are no longer needed.
Last week, the Welsh government announced a ‘comprehensive review of attendance patterns’ amid criticism of how schools’ Covid data is being collected.
School leaders warned there was more disruption in education now than at any time during the pandemic. You can read more about it here
According to the latest figures from the Welsh government, an average of 6,306 children and adolescents were out of school for Covid-related reasons from October 4 to 8, almost 4,000 less than the 10,000 the previous week. The data also shows that attendance during this period fell from 85% to 87.4% with 1.7% of students absent for reasons related to Covid.
Data on Friday showed Covid infection levels in England are approaching the peak seen at the height of Wave 2 and are primarily determined by rates among schoolchildren.
Estimates from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed that around one in 10 schoolchildren in grades 7-11 in England was estimated to have Covid last week – the highest positivity rate for all age groups .
While infection levels in England are high, they do not lead to the same level of hospitalizations and deaths as in the second peak thanks to the success of the vaccination campaign.
Read more:All the latest coronavirus news here.
Latest coronavirus infection rate for Wales
Ten more people have died from the coronavirus in Wales according to the latest figures from Public Health Wales (PHW).
Data released on Sunday, October 17 also revealed that there were 2,965 new positive cases bringing the total number since the start of the pandemic to 395,247. The 10 additional deaths recorded carry the overall toll within 28 days of a test. Covid positive at 6,015 in Wales.
Wales’ latest seven-day infection rate based on cases per 100,000 people (seven days through 11 October) now stands at 529.3 – a drop from the 531.7 reported on Friday .
The local authority with the highest infection rate in Wales is now Torfaen with 749.2 cases per 100,000 inhabitants over seven days followed by Cardiff with 728.5 and Glamorgan Valley with 720.1. Case for your region here.
Welsh government promises certainty for companies facing volatile recovery
The Welsh government is committed to securing a ‘Team Wales’ recovery from the pandemic by pursuing a progressive economic policy that focuses on better jobs, reducing the skills gap and tackling poverty.
Economy Minister Vaughan Gething will set out his vision for the Welsh economy and pledge to expand a ‘Team Wales’ model to provide certainty for businesses facing a volatile recovery.
It will promise a new era of partnership to strengthen regional economic development, a delivery plan to support the everyday economy and broad support for workers in a changing economy.
Mr Gething will present his plans at a hybrid economic summit at Transport for Wales’ new headquarters in Pontypridd.
He will say the Welsh government will also work with unions and businesses to ensure investment is linked to equity in work, decarbonisation and skills.
And he will promise to look at the long-term demographic challenge facing the Welsh economy.
The proportion of the population aged 16 to 64 in Wales has been declining year on year since mid-2008 – and could only represent 58% of the population by 2043.
The Welsh government will also ask the Chancellor to demonstrate the UK government’s ambition for Wales by honoring pledges made on EU successor funds, supporting key renewables such as tidal power and investing in Welsh research and development.
Speaking ahead of the summit, Mr Gething said: “The Welsh government is taking bold steps to build a stronger, fairer and greener Welsh economy.
“It took an effort from the Wales team to keep Wales safe and we will ensure a recovery from the Wales team, built by all of us.
“A strong Welsh recovery will be based on the principles of fair work and sustainability as we invest in the industries and services of the future.
“As we face the headwinds of Brexit, I am determined that our credible plans provide as much certainty as possible to help businesses plan ahead.
“A new era of partnership for stronger regions, a guarantee for young people, a plan to support our daily economy and a collaboration with leading edge manufacturing in the world.” This is the reason to be optimistic about the future we are building in Wales.
“My ambition is to make Wales a place where more young people feel confident to plan for their future here. You don’t have to go out to fend for yourself, build your future here in Wales. “
University said to reimburse online module fees
A university was told it should apologize and reimburse the fees after claiming the course changes were due to the Covid pandemic.
BBC Wales reports that a complaint lodged by 13 students at Trinity St David’s University of Wales has been upheld by an independent adjudicator.
The complaint was lodged by a group of students who started their course in September 2020 after classes in some courses were replaced with online modules.
Students claimed that they had not been informed of the changes, which meant that course-specific content had been replaced with more general modules focused on employability and digital skills.
The university said it is committed to providing students with the right skills for their future careers.
The students took the case to the Office of the Independent Arbitrator for Higher Education (OIA) when their complaint was dismissed by the university.
The OIA is an independent body which examines student complaints about higher education providers in Wales and England under the Higher Education Act 2004.
Student says new online modules have ‘nothing to do’ with students’ credentials
“We think we have been betrayed by them to be honest,” he told the BBC. “They took advantage of the Covid pandemic to implement digital delivery and make us spend even more time stuck in front of a bright screen.
“It was just extremely demoralizing to see them do this to us and then be confronted with content that had nothing to do with what we had signed up to do a degree for.”
Trinity St David, which has three main campuses in southwest Wales, Carmarthen, Lampeter and Swansea, said she needed to take stock of how education was being delivered given the pandemic.
Covid cases in Russia increase by 70% in one month
Russia reported the highest number of new daily coronavirus infections, more than 70% more than a month ago, as the country faces a sustained increase in cases.
The national coronavirus task force said on Sunday that 34,303 new infections had been recorded the day before, up from 20,174 on September 19.
The death toll of 999 was just below the previous high of 1,002 reported on Saturday.
Russian authorities have tried to speed up the pace of vaccinations with lotteries, bonuses and other incentives, but widespread skepticism about the beatings and mixed signals from authorities have hampered efforts.
The government said this week that around 43 million Russians, or 29% of the population, are fully immunized.
Despite the growing toll, the Kremlin has ruled out a new nationwide lockdown like the one at the start of the pandemic that severely affected the economy and eroded President Vladimir Putin’s popularity.
Instead, he delegated the power to enforce the coronavirus restrictions to regional authorities.
The official record ranks Russia fifth among pandemic deaths in the world after the United States, Brazil, India and Mexico.
However, the state statistics agency Rosstat, which also counts deaths where the virus was not considered the primary cause, reported a much higher number of pandemic deaths – around 418,000 people with Covid in August.
Based on that number, Russia would rank fourth among the hardest-hit countries in the world, ahead of Mexico.
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