Update on Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council’s response to Coronavirus (COVID-19) from the Council Leader, Councillor Bob Cook.
We continue to provide regular updates to keep you informed of changes to services.
Libraries to open on Saturdays
From Saturday, September 5, Billingham, Stockton and Thornaby Central libraries will be open from 10am to 2pm on Saturdays and Norton and Yarm libraries will be open from 10am to 1pm on Saturdays.
This is in addition to their current opening hours of 10am to 1pm and 2pm to 4.30pm, Monday to Friday. Ingleby Barwick Library, in the new IB Leisure facility, is open 9am to 8pm, Monday to Friday, 10am to 4pm on Saturdays, and 10am to 2pm on Sundays.
These libraries are open for book returns and book collections, as well as limited browsing and access to ICT facilities. You need to book access to ICT facilities with the library at least one day in advance.
The book request service will also resume from Tuesday, September 1 for books currently in our library stock.
School reopening arrangements
Schools across the Borough will reopen fully to pupils next week and they have been in contact with parents and carers about arrangements for the new term. You can find a list of school reopening dates on our website at www.stockton.gov.uk/coronavirus/schoolsandchildcare.
School transport arrangements
We’re providing home to school transport for around 1,710 pupils this coming academic year, and are in the process of contacting parents and carers with details of the travel arrangements we’ve put in place from next week. The additional fare-paying children who use concessionary seats on these buses can continue to do so until the end of the school year in July 2021. This follows the Government’s decision to delay the implementation of legal changes that would have prevented concessionary passengers from travelling on these buses.
Alongside this, we have been working with the Tees Valley Combined Authority (TVCA) and bus companies to identify where capacity issues may arise for pupils and students who use public transport to get to and from school. As a result, Stagecoach have agreed to put on extra buses on a number of routes in the Borough. We would also encourage pupils to walk or cycle to school where possible.
We will continue to work alongside TVCA, the bus companies and of course, the schools themselves to monitor the situation very closely and respond quickly to any capacity issues, should they arise.
Earlier this week, we published a ‘dashboard’ of data to keep residents up to date with the COVID-19 picture in the Borough. It will be refreshed every Wednesday.
Although the figures show that our rates remain relatively low, it’s very important that we’re not complacent.
We don’t want to see a local lockdown here and the best way to avoid that is for us all to keep on doing our bit to minimise the risk of the virus spreading.
That means sticking to preventative measures like social distancing and hand washing because these things are only effective when we all do them.
I urge you all to please play your part and help us be in a stronger position in our fight against COVID-19.
Protecting each other, and particularly our most vulnerable residents, is still of paramount importance.
Remember, you can keep up with all Coronavirus (COVID-19) related developments in the Borough, including details of the range of support available, via our webpage www.stockton.gov.uk/coronavirus.