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Union ‘cannot be convinced’ children will safely return to school after mid-term

A teachers’ union said it “cannot be convinced” children will safely return to school after the mid-term break in light of the rising number of Covid-19 cases in the community.

On Monday, the Government announced the country was moving to Level 5 of the Living with Covid plan, under which schools will remain open, from Wednesday.

Speaking at the announcement on Monday night, Taoiseach Micheál Martin said it was “necessary” to keep schools open to avoid young people’s futures becoming “another victim” of Covid-19. The advice from the National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) also recommended schools remain open for the six -week period.

However, John Boyle, general secretary of the Irish National Teachers’ Organisation, said the Government’s approach to testing was “shambolic” and there were now eight or nine days to prove schools were safe.

“Back in March the Government made the right decision to close schools, we worked so hard to reopen schools, but three months on I cannot be convinced by Micheál Martin’s comments last night that the children will be returning after Halloween to a safe school and of course it’s vital that their education continues, but it’s even more vital for their families that they will remain safe,” Mr Boyle told RTÉ radio’s Morning Ireland.

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Staying off school would cause more damage to children than Covid-19 itself, English Chief Medical Officer warns – Channel 4 News

It’s all a balance of risks.

The long term risks to children if they miss even more time at school – versus the risks of re-opening classrooms again – and the huge challenge faced by teachers and parents in trying to keep them safe.

A new study by Public Health England has suggested the chances of transmission within schools is low – but teaching unions want the Government to come up with a Plan B if there’s another wave of infections.


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Migrant children in US custody in New York test positive

Three unaccompanied minor children in U.S. custody in New York have tested positive for the coronavirus, officials said Thursday.

The children, whose ages and nationalities weren’t released, are in the custody of the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR), an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The office is responsible for housing migrant minors.

The agency said it is doing an evaluation of the children and will not release them from New York care provider facilities.

The resettlement office’s medical team “is working with the programs in New York and local health department to collect information and determine next steps,” a statement from the agency said. 

The statement said the office has stopped placements of unaccompanied minor children in the states of California, New York, and Washington, which have been the hardest hit by the coronavirus. With more than 30,000 cases in New York, the state has become the epicenter of the coronavirus epidemic in the United States. 

“ORR is prioritizing local placements for all new referrals from DHS to limit air travel when possible,” the statement said.   

Border patrol agent Joe Romero escorts four unattended migrant children from Ecuador to another agent for transport Tuesday, Feb. 18, by the east bridge near Staton bride in El Paso. The children were waiting by the border fence on the Mexico side alone until agent Romero approached them and began asking them where they were trying to go. The children told agent Romero they did not have parents with them.

The agency said 18 children have been tested for COVID-19, with three presumptive cases confirmed, 11 negative results, and 4 that are still pending.

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The agency said if a health care provider or public health department recommends testing for a child, that they receive the testing. Any child showing symptoms is medically isolated from other children, pending negative test results, the agency said. 

Five staff members and one staff contractor at three separate care provider facilities in New York recently tested positive for COVID-19, the statement said. One staff member at a facility in Texas, and one foster parent in Washington State have also tested positive.

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Students east of Edmonton take on project to build beds for children in need – Edmonton

A number of schools east of Edmonton have partnered with a local charity to help ensure children in the area who don’t have a proper bed will get one.

On Wednesday, Elk Island Public Schools (EIPS) issued a news release about the initiative, which sees Bev Facey Community High School, F.R. Haythorne Junior High School and Strathcona Christian Academy Secondary work with Sleep in Heavenly Peace, a charity that operates in Strathcona County.

EIPS said students at the schools had learned from the charity about sleeping conditions some families in the area are enduring and “agreed to turn their construction labs into bed-producing workshops to help the charity meet demand.”

“Each school pledged to build 60 beds, and under the guidance of their construction teachers, students of all grade levels got to cutting, routing and sanding bedframes and bundling the finished pieces for delivery,” Laura McNabb, director of communication services for EIPS, said in a news release.

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According to the school division, many students took part in assembling the beds themselves.

“Building these beds with my class made me realize how fortunate I am,” said Sarah Weidmann, a Grade 12 construction student at Bev Facey. “I can’t remember a time where I didn’t have a bed with pillows and blankets to sleep on.

“These families who are having trouble meeting their basic needs are out there and we don’t even realize it. By building these beds, I know we’re helping to make a difference for these kids.”

Students at F.R. Haythorne also planned a school dance and a “game-a-thon” to raise money to buy bedding for the initiative. EIPS said that fundraising campaign raised nearly $2,250 and was able to purchase 44 sets of bedding.

“The initiative students have shown in organizing this fundraiser is inspiring,” said Erin Clark, an assistant principal at F.R. Haythorne. “They were responsible for all of it, from the initial planning, to the organizing and running of the events.

“We’re so proud of what they’ve been able to accomplish.”

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According to EIPS, some beds were already delivered to families but more are still to come.

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LGBT children forced into homelessness by fear of persecution in their own homes – Channel 4 News

Imagine growing up with the threat of violence, attacks – and forced marriage. And this from your own parents.

A new survey has found more than a quarter of people in the UK say they wouldn’t be proud to have an LGBT child – and shockingly more than one in ten claim they wouldn’t be comfortable living with that child at home.

The Albert Kennedy Trust charity says that some LGBT young people have found the situation so hostile, they’ve been forced into homelessness.

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