Two Sandwich secondary schools close to all year groups due to rising Covid cases

Image Nick Smith / Sandwich Technology School (wikimedia commons)

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.”

Thanet data

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

Covid-19 data

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.

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  1. Shut the schools. It is growing at an alarming rate and being brought home by pupils to Vulnerable Families who are not able to go out due to lockdown !!!!!!!

  2. It would be a sensible decision to close all schools especially within the arc Sandwich to Herne Bay in corporations Canterbury.
    Many students from these area’s travel to and from Herne Bay and Sandwich. However, this places additional pressure on parents whom are still able to work.
    Failure to contain the virus will most certainly increase the chances of the additional two week lockdown as predicted by the Government for some area’s which looks certain more than ever for Thanet.

  3. This government has made bad decision after bad decision.
    Lockdown too late. Relaxing too early. Don’t wear a mask. Do wear a mask. Wear a mask if you’re standing; don’t if you’re sitting.
    But the most disastrous decision was to send children and young people back to school , college and university.
    For goodness sake. Look around you. Theoretically schools are open. The reality is that they are closing in a piecemeal way.
    Get a grip. Just for once, be proactive.

  4. I wish I could be confident that all these children who are supposed to be quarantining actually are.
    Recent research revealed that 4 out of 5 people supposed to be self-isolating weren’t.

  5. It’s a Tory Party avoidable catastrophe. Killing people by accident and stupidity. We know what this was called in WW2!

  6. All thanet schools are serviced by school bus routes taking pupils of mixed schools from all over thanet and Also the 2 schools in Sandwich all together no wonder covid cases are running rife throughout Thanet. This system will never help in the prevention of the spread of this virus. Surely the less mixing with other schools would help contain it in smaller areas.

  7. The fact that children travel to school on buses does not explain why CV is so high in Thanet. Children use public transport all over the country to get to school.

  8. I was interested by the reference to the large number of lessons being taken by non-specialist teachers. This seems to be a crucial problem.
    It’s all very well insisting that the schools are kept open regardless, appearently to save the pupils education.
    But, if they are increasingly being taught,say, Maths, by the Chemistry teacher, or vice-versa, the quality of the education will deteriorate ,despite the best efforts of all concerned.
    In the end, the schools just become buildings in which to look after children while the parents go to work.

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