Hundreds of children self-isolating in Stratford and Alcester over positive Covid cases
MORE than 3,000 pupils are in self-isolation in Warwickshire – with a quarter of all schools across the county impacted – following positive Covid tests among pupils and staff.
The figures come as the government looks to ditch self-isolation for students in September, with tens of thousands of students currently out of school, including 3,385 in Warwickshire.
There is concern that just a small number of positive tests is having an impact of a large number of pupils as entire year groups can be sent home. At Alcester Grammar a third of its 900 students were in self-isolation this week after 12 pupils tested positive.
Principal Clive Sentance said: “We have a small cluster of cases which have come out of nowhere, these have resulted in 12 live cases with a couple of results outstanding.
“We had very few cases from March to June, maybe one a month, we’ve followed the contact tracing guidance but this latest cluster could have been passed on school buses.
“We have a third of students out, that’s 300 self-isolating out of 900 students. It’s a small cluster but it’s affected Year 9, and a third of years 7, 8, 10 and 12.
“Will there be changes in September? September’s not looking very good and it’s for our political masters to decide what happens next.”
He added: “It would be completely unworkable to do a daily test of say 300 students. We’d have to start lining them up at 6.30am and get it all done before 9am, and if they were affected they’d have to be sent home”.
According to Warwickshire County Council, 66 schools are now affected out of about 230.
Stratford School is also seeing Covid cases spike. Headteacher Neil Wallace said: “We currently have 19 students who have had a positive PCR test and three others who have had positive LFD tests and are awaiting a confirmatory PCR test. As a result of the cases being largely concentrated in our younger students, all of Year 7 are currently self-isolating for 10 days, whilst all of Year 8 are to self-isolate and stay at home as a precautionary measure on Thursday and Friday of this week.
“Hopefully, taking this action will act as a firebreak and enable us to reassess the situation over the next few days in light of the mass student LFD testing on Wednesday evening.
“There are 32 students self-isolating as close contacts in Year 12 whilst approximately 50 others are self-isolating due to potential contact with a case of coronavirus from outside of school. It is a challenging time for many people.”
He added: “It is a difficult balancing act knowing that as a society we must find a way to balance the risk proportionately without excessive restrictions, whilst acknowledging that Covid can have devastating consequences. Nobody wants to have to self-isolate or for children to miss out on school when for most people Covid may well be a mild illness, but schools are being asked to take matters very seriously.”
Henley-in-Arden School’s consultant headteacher Mark Wilson said: “We have had a couple of cases and had to bubble a few children but not a lot compared to other schools.”