Structured home learning and links with their school communities are maintaining education momentum for children across Viking Academy Trust who are in precautionary isolation.
In the last week a small number of positive cases have been recorded at the Trust’s partner schools – Upton Juniors, Chilton Primary and Ramsgate Arts Primary – and action has been taken in accordance with Public Health England (PHE) and the Department for Education (DfE) guidelines.
At RAPS, Year 2 pupils have been advised to isolate after two children tested positive for Covid 19. At Chilton, one class in Year 2 and one Class in Year 4 are learning from home this week after siblings, one in each class, tested positive. At Upton, a positive case of a Year 6 pupil was notified during the weekend.
During half term week in October a female teaching assistant at Upton tested positive although in that scenario children were on school holiday and were therefore not exposed to the staff member who is in the second week of 14-day isolation.
Michaela Lewis, Executive Head Teacher at Viking Academy Trust, stressed that all three schools are operating normally with strict health and safety guidelines in full operation.
She said: “We go over and above the advice given by Public Health England and the government – our entire school communities work together to ensure that education across our Trust continues to thrive.
“Home learning has been in place across lockdown and teachers and children in isolation engage in purposeful learning opportunities and are actively connected to their school on a daily basis.
“Our health and safety measures are very tightly monitored. As soon as we are aware of any positive test our individual Heads of School and their teams engage our pre-prepared action plan immediately.
“I can reassure all our families that our Trust’s personal hygiene strategy remains first class and we reinforce messages about the importance of cleanliness and precautionary actions regularly. Any potential cases of Covid are dealt with professionally and promptly to safeguard our children and staff.
“The heads at each of the partner schools will keep families informed regularly regarding Covid 19 and with relevant learning development programmes for home education where necessary.”
A further message to parents this weekend has come from St George’s school and says a pupil from another school has tested positive for Covid but had used the 943 Stagecoach bus (Cliffsend to Dane Court and St Georges). The message says: “If your child travelled on the 943 bus on Thursday or Friday of last week then we have been advised that they must self isolate for 14 days.”
A spokesman for Stagecoach said “We have a very controlled process for dealing with bus sanitation. Dane Court Grammar School informed us on Sunday night that a pupil using the 943 service on Thursday and Friday last week tested positive for the virus over the weekend. We identified the buses used on that service and they have been subject to a rigorous interior clean.
Further schools asking some pupils to isolate
Other schools sending out messages to parents/carers over the weekend include King Ethelbert in Birchington who say a Year 7 pupil has tested positive and students that have had close contact in that year bubble have been asked to isolate until November 23. It is understood students in Year 12 have also been asked to isolate.
At Sandwich Tech Year 8 students are being asked to isolate after a confirmed positive result for a pupil. The year group will not return to school until November 20.
Manor House Nursery School in Margate has also posted to facebook to inform parents of a staff member testing positive for the virus. However, the affected person has not been at the nursery since November 2.
The message says: “We have just been informed that a member of staff in the pre-school room has today, tested positive for Covid 19. The staff member has not been in nursery since Tuesday 2nd November.
“Please try not to worry, the evidence suggests that there is a very low risk of children becoming unwell from Covid 19. We have attempted to get in touch with Public Health England and they are currently closed.
“We have made the decision to close the pre-school bubble until we have received advice from Public Health. We will be making phone calls to all pre-school parents as soon as we have the information from Public Health in the morning.”
There are also understood to be new positive cases from Dane Court, St Saviours, Northdown, Birchington, St George’s and Newington.
Cases since September
The schools are just the latest in a long line that have had to put self-isolation plans in place after students or staff confirmed positive tests.
Others that have been affected since schools fully reopened in September include Chatham & Clarendon, Northdown, Hartsdown, Newington, Royal Harbour Academy, Minster primary, Bromstone, Dame Janet Primary in Ramsgate, Garlinge primary, St Anthony’s School, Ellington infants, Dane Court, Cliftonville primary, St George’s CofE and St Ethelbert’s primary.
With the enactment of national covid restrictions, in Year 7 and above face coverings should be worn by adults and pupils – unless exempt – when moving around the premises, outside of classrooms, such as in corridors and communal areas where social distancing cannot easily be maintained.
Face coverings should also be worn by pupils in year 7 and above when travelling on dedicated school transport to secondary school or college.