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BREAKING NEWS – COVID-19: All schools to close in Crawley from Friday

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Gavin Williamson the Education Secretary has announced that all schools across England are to close from end of the schools day on Friday (20th March) until further notice.

The news came just minutes after two more Crawley schools, Oriel High School and The Gatwick School made announcements of students being stopped from coming into school from tomorrow.

Speaking in the House of Commons he said:

“I want to provide parents, students and staff with the certainty they need.

“After schools shut their gates on Friday afternoon, they will remain closed until further notice.

“This will be for all children, except for those of key workers and children who are most vulnerable.”

The Prime Minister said examples of key workers would include police, delivery drivers and NHS staff but more would be identified shortly. Students of these key workers and also vulnerable students should still turn up to their school as normal next Monday.

He said the benefits of schools remaining open were changing swiftly and schools were finding it difficult to continue as normal.

Exams are to be put on hold.

The Chief Scientific Adviser, Sir Patrick Vallance, said that closing schools will delay the spread of the virus.

The Prime Minister said that childre should not be left with older grandparents or older relatives as they may be particularly vulnerable to the virus.

Dr Jenny Harries, Deputy Chief Medical Officer added the aim of this decision was to reduce the social impact across society.

In response to the statement by Education Secretary Gavin Williamson about COVID-19 and school closures, Matthew Fell, CBI Chief UK Policy Director, said:

“Difficult decisions are having to be made each day and people’s safety must always come first. Today’s announcement on school closures feels necessary, but of course will present challenges for parents and carers.

“Businesses will do all they can to help their employees in these unprecedented times. Companies will make every effort to offer flexible working, but many parents simply won’t be able to do their jobs and care for their children at the same time. With so many businesses already struggling with cashflow, government will urgently need to step in with additional support to employees who are unable to work because of school closures.”

Coronavirus

Over 580 people come forward to become a police emergency volunteer in Sussex

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The Chief Constable has praised hundreds of members of the public who have come forward to offer their services to support the county’s response to the coronavirus outbreak.

Following a call for support last week, more than 580 members of the public have expressed an interest in becoming a police emergency volunteer to help support Surrey Police and Sussex Police should resources reduce or additional specific skills and experience are required.

Sussex Police is continuing to plan ahead during this period of dealing with Covid-19 and as such, is creating a database of retired police officers, specials and police staff who may wish to return to policing for a temporary period, and members of the public who may have specific skills that would be of use.

Sussex Police Chief Constable Giles York said:

“We would like to say an enormous thank you to everyone who has expressed an interest in becoming a police emergency volunteer.

“We were delighted with the response we received and believe it demonstrates the great sense of community here in Sussex, with everyone wanting to pull together and help.

“This is also reflected in how the vast majority of the public are already supporting the force’s work by adhering to the government guidelines to stay indoors, to only travel when essential and to observe safe social distancing.”

As the situation progresses over the next few weeks, Sussex Police will continue to monitor its resourcing levels and assess the potential demand for additional roles. If it is felt a person’s particular skills can be utilised, Sussex Police will make contact with them.

CC Giles York added:

“We will endeavour to update all those who have expressed an interest in becoming a police emergency volunteer, but due to the fast-paced and ever-changing nature of the situation and the volume of expressions we have received, this may not always be possible.

“We ask people to please bear with us and know that even if we don’t respond to you immediately, we are incredibly grateful to you for expressing an interest in supporting Sussex Police.”

Sussex Police continues to engage with members of the public and explain the importance of following the government guidance, to protect public health and the NHS.

CC Giles York said:

“We are encouraging people to comply with the government guidance but if faced with non-compliance we will, if necessary and proportionate, follow up with enforcement action as set out in the new legislation.

“Sussex Police has a strong relationship with our communities and I know my officers will be using their skills and powers in a way that maintains public support. I have received many messages of support from community leaders and the public and am pleased to pass them onto officers who are taking personal risks to protect the NHS, they really make a difference. 

“We would also like to reassure the public that although we are putting these contingency plans in place, we are still in a position to respond to emergencies and carry out the normal day-to-day policing expected of us, to keep the public and our communities safe.”

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