SCHOOLS in Bury will stay open over the Easter break to allow key workers to continue doing their jobs when the coronavirus outbreak is expected to peak.

A total of 69 primary and secondary schools are currently open across the borough with an attendance of around 1.3 per cent of school-age children.

The 308 pupils who are still attending school during the national lockdown are children of key workers and those who are in need of extra support.

Bury Council chief executive Geoff Little said that most parents are keeping their children at home and self-isolated as instructed by the government.

But he warned of the need to keep frontline staff at work during the Easter half term when the coronavirus crisis is expected to reach its peak.

He said: “We are thinking about the Easter break and we are in agreement with our schools that we’ll stay open during the Easter break so our key workers can keep working.

“We don’t want key workers having to take time off when we need them during the Easter break.

“We’ll provide places for all those children that are currently going into school – not just key workers, also children that are in need of extra support.

“But it may need some reorganising so that fewer schools open than normal.”

Mr Little explained that schools may have to be clustered so that not all sites remain open during the Easter break.

The chief executive also said that the council will continue to provide school meals through the Easter period.

He added: “We are supporting all public services in the borough to be ready for increasing cases in Bury.

“We are in the foothills of this, not quite at the peak, and we are getting ready for staff who have to stay at home or are ill with the virus.”

Council leader David Jones warned that some people are still not taking the coronavirus crisis seriously enough.

He said: “There’s a general feeling that the vast majority don’t see this as seriously as they should do.

“This virus will attack the elderly much worse than younger people. But the reality is that we’re all at risk and some of us could be carriers and give it to those at high risk.

“I’ve never seen so many people walking their dogs on Manchester Road. These dogs have never had so much exercise in their life. People don’t quite get it.

“Young people need to understand that they are as at risk as the elderly. They may not end up dead, but they could end up quite poorly.”