Sandwich Technology School is closed to all years until November 30 and so is neighbouring Sir Roger Manwood’s.
A letter to parents/carers has been issued by Sandwich head teacher Tracey Savage following confirmed Covid cases in Years 7,8 and 10.
Ms Savage said that within the space of 7 days there have been:
4 cases amongst the student body that have required students and staff to self-isolate;
8 further cases amongst the wider school community that have luckily (according to PHE) not required the school to take further action, but have been monitored carefully;
37 (out of 75) teaching staff who are now also required to self-isolate – some of these are as a direct result of the cases in school and some are for reasons outside of school;
An increase in the number of lessons that are being covered by non-specialist teachers – this is now at about 50 per cent;
The letter says: “It is with regret – and after much reflection and careful analysis – that I have taken the very difficult decision to close Sandwich Technology School to all students until Monday 30 November.
“This decision has been taken after full consultation with Public Health England (PHE) and the Department for Education (DfE). As we have already informed you, we have had to ask students in Year 8 and Year 7 to self-isolate due to Covid-19 cases within their year group.
“This weekend we have heard that there is now another case in Year 10, so Year 10 students now also need to self-isolate.
“Our nearest Secondary School, Sir Roger Manwood’s, which is experiencing similar issues, has reached the same decision. I am sure you are aware that the number of infections in Kent has recently dramatically risen in all districts across the county.
“ In Thanet, where a good proportion of our students live, this has been particularly acute. The weekly cases per one hundred thousand in Thanet is now 443.9, which compares with an England-wide figure of 266.7. Currently, it has been reported that the R-rate for Kent is amongst the highest in the country.
“Therefore, it is highly likely that more cases within our community will have occurred this weekend that we would learn about tomorrow morning and that there will be more cases in the coming days.
“ It is, unfortunately, now obvious that we do not have the capacity to open safely and to continue to provide quality education within school.
“Since September the school has been preparing, in line with Government expectations, full pre-recorded lessons in case of such an eventuality. These are ready and in place for all year groups.
“It is our belief that, under these difficult circumstances, the students’ education will be better served at home, following these lessons and knowing that they are safe, than being in school, often being taught by other teachers than their own, wondering if they may be sent home at any minute.
“This degree of uncertainty is not conducive to focussed learning. I would like to take this opportunity to assure you that, at present, there is no evidence that any case has arisen through contact/transmission at school. However, as an extra precaution we are going to use the closure as an opportunity to enhance our already robust cleaning procedure by undertaking an additional deep clean of the whole school.
“For this reason, in the first week of school closure we are, unfortunately, unable to offer key worker school provision.”
Ms Savage added: “I take my duty of care to the students and staff very seriously indeed and I simply cannot see any other way forward.”
The rate of weekly Covid cases per 100,000 people has swelled again for Thanet with the figure now recorded as 443.9 (5 November to 11 November), according to data published by Kent County Council. The England average is 266.7.
Today’s (November 15) figures on the government coronavirus dashboard show 139 new cases reported for Thanet, making a total of 716 cases between November 9-15. This is a rise of 337 (or 88.9%) on the figure for the previous seven days.
The total number of people in Thanet who have had a confirmed positive test result as of November 14 was 2,542.
There were five deaths within 28 days of a positive test for Coronavirus reported for the week to 15 November for Thanet. The total number of people who have died within 28 days of testing positive for Coronavirus as of today was 124. Covid-19 is mentioned on the death certificate but may not be the primary cause of death.
The government dashboard says the seven day rolling rate to November 10 is 412.9 per 100,000 ( a day’s time lag on the figures published by Kent County Council).
The latest R number (the rate an affected person will spread to others) for the healthcare region of South East is estimated at 1.2 to 1.4 with a daily infection growth rate range of +3% to +6% as of 14 November. Ideally the R rate should be at one or below to show a decrease of virus spread.
Cases in schools
This month has seen positive cases confirmed at schools stretching from Ursuline in Westgate to Newland, Ramsgate Arts Primary and Chilton in Ramsgate, Upton in Broadstairs, St Gregory’s in Margate and King Ethelbert in Birchington.
There have also been cases at Sandwich Tech, Dane Court, St Saviours, Northdown, Birchington, St George’s and Newington.
Since schools fully reopened in September there have been cases at almost all sites in Thanet including 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.