ALMOST one in six schools in Bolton have staff or children self-isolating.

But all of the borough’s schools remain open for pupils whose class ‘bubbles’ are unaffected by positive covid-19 tests, town hall chiefs say.

Schools opened at the start of September with staff excited to welcome pupils back, and children described and ready and focused to learn.

A series of safety measures are in place in all schools, which include the creation of class or year bubbles to stop the virus from transmitting.

Since then positive tests have resulted in children staying at home to self-isolate and be taught remotely.

Headteachers have told The Bolton News they are heartbroken at having to close the bubble, but say their staff are determined to ensure that children’s education continues, whether in school or at home.

The local authority says that the school bubble system is helping slow the spread of the virus in the community as those with close contact with positive people can be quickly identified and asked to self-isolate

One in ten schools where bubbles have closed have seen children return following a period of self-isolation

Secondary schools account for the majority of pupils self-isolating, this is due to larger bubble sizes and does not reflect a higher number of positive cases

Bolton Council’s Executive Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, Cllr Anne Galloway, said:“A number of education settings in our borough have pupils or staff who are self-isolating following a positive COVID-19 test in their class, bubble or year group.

“Schools have planned carefully for this and have acted quickly and responsibly to ensure the safety of all pupils and staff.

“This also benefits the wider community as those who have come into close contact with someone with the virus are asked to stay at home to minimise the risk of further spread. In secondary schools, where class sizes and year groups are larger, a single positive test can result in a high number of students self-isolating, but this is a precaution to ensure everyone’s safety. We are working with school leaders and public health teams to improve tracing processes and ensure children are only asked to isolate where necessary.

"A variety of teaching packages are in place, including virtual learning, so young people can continue to study while at home.”