AN estimated 60 per cent plus of schools in Bury have been hit by a coronavirus outbreak since the start of September, councillors have been told.

And in one week alone in September, around 2,200 pupils were away from lessons because of Covid-19, the borough council's executive has heard.

An increasing number of care home staff have also been affected, according to latest testing figures.

Cllr Andrea Simpson, health cabinet member, said in a report: "Since schools returned at the beginning of September, over 60 per cent of chools have experienced a confirmed

case, either staff or pupils.

"This has led to large numbers of pupils and teachers being required to self-isolate for 14 days.

"In line with initial Government guidance, where a confirmed case was identified in a school, the pupils and staff in a ‘bubble’ have been required to self-isolate.

"For primary schools, these bubbles are typically a class of approximately 30 pupils, but for secondary may extend to a year group of up to 200 pupils. A more recent focused approach has enabled a smaller number of close contacts to be identified, and requiring a part bubble to be isolated."

Councillors have also been told that the impact of self-isolating on the community has been "significant" over the same period.

Cllr Simpson added: "Whilst the numbers vary on a daily basis, at its maximum during the third week of September, approximately 2,200 children were out of school.

"More recently, in the rolling seven days to October 1, there were approximately 90 confirmed cases in a school, with 40 staff and 800 children required to self-isolate.

"Over the following 72 hours, a further 700 pupils have been required to self-isolate. The situation is very dynamic. We are working with Greater Manchester

colleagues to produce data that can then be reported consistently, and enable bench-marking across local authorities."

Other establishments, particularly care homes, have also been facing more challenging circumstances due to the virus.

Cllr Simpson said: "A significant number of care homes have also been affected by individual cases, largely staff members detected through the whole care home testing programme.

"In the last week a small number of larger outbreaks have started to be reported in schools, care homes and workplaces. This is a trend that is likely to continue and grow."