All Year 11 students at Dane Court school in Broadstairs have now been asked to isolate until November 30.
Head teacher Martin Jones informed parents/carers yesterday (November 20) that due to students and staff already isolating the decision had been taken to keep the entire year group at home.
He wrote: “I am writing to inform you that, due to a number of positive tests for Covid-19 in a relatively short space of time; the large number of Year 11 students having to isolate; and staff shortages caused by self-isolation, we have very unfortunately had to take the decision to ask the entirety of Year 11 to isolate at home.
“Throughout this challenging time, we have consistently followed the guidance from both the Department for Education and the local Health Protection Team, but even so this is a decision we take with great reluctance.
“Due to the timing of the return of the positive results, students will be able to return to school on Monday 30th November, unless they have been instructed to isolate for a longer period or they are feeling unwell. This date applies equally to those we have sent home today (November 20) and to those who were already isolating.
“We will continue to monitor the situation and will communicate with you next week if this situation changes. While this is a necessary step in the current circumstances, we would like to reassure parents that this period of isolation is very much a precautionary measure.
“After the health and safety of our students and their families, minimising the disruption to their learning is the very next priority. During your child’s absence, work will be provided for them via Google Classroom.
“While our students will be physically absent from school next week, teachers, mentors, and the leadership team here remain available to support them and you through this difficult time.”
Dane Court joins the growing number of schools, nurseries and Broadstairs College that have had to ask students and/or staff to stay at home.
Year 9 and Year 11 students at Hartsdown Academy in Margate have been instructed to self-isolate until December 4 following positive Covid cases.
Parents and carers were alerted to the latest bubble closure today (November 20). Year 8 and Year 10 Hartsdown Academy youngsters are already isolating. Year 7 students returned to school yesterday.
Head teacher Matt Tate said: “We are incredibly disappointed to be required by Public Health England to send further year groups home. We have organised the school into ‘year bubbles’ which means that if we have positive cases within a bubble that group has to go home.
“We miss our students and wish they were in school. Fortunately, we are able to offer a full-time virtual curriculum with lessons being delivered online in line with children’s normal timetable. We are pleased to report that the vast majority of our students are accessing these lessons.”
It comes on the heels of the closure of Year 10 and Year 8 at Royal Harbour Academy in Ramsgate where students have been asked to isolate until November 30 following positive Covid cases being confirmed at the school.
Parents and carers with children in Year 4 at Holy Trinity & St John’s Primary School in Margate have also been notified of a positive case in the year bubble.The pupils from that group must now self-isolate until November 30.
Ursuline College in Westgate has put in place a full closure until December 1 due to Covid cases resulting in staff and student absences. Full closures until December 1 are also in place at Sandwich Tech and Sir Roger Manwood.
At a Kent Public Health meeting yesterday, director for public health Andrew Scott-Clark said school closures are decisions made by principals rather than Public Health England and are mostly based not just on positive cases but also on staffing ratios.
National Education Union
The National Education Union (NEU) says government figures show the rate of infection amongst secondary age pupils has risen by 51 times since the start of September and they have a significantly higher rate of infection than any other age group.
Secondary and primary schools were the 2nd and 3rd most commonly reported location by people testing positive for coronavirus.
Kevin Courtney, Joint General Secretary of the National Education Union said: “There is very clear evidence that secondary age pupils are catching the virus in school and on their way to school, and then passing it to their families. In these circumstances the Government cannot expect schools to run as normal with almost no measures to protect staff and pupils.
“The Government’s failure to break the chains of transmission in schools means this period of lockdown will not result in cases falling to any significant degree – we will be in the same place on December 2 as we were on November 5 when we needed to introduce the lockdown because cases were so high.”
Kent County Council data currently has Thanet at 515.8 weekly cases per 100,000 between November 11-17.
The government coronavirus dashboard data – which is for the week to November 16 – has the rate at 521.4 per 100,000.
The England average has shown a drop and now stands at 247.7.
The data says there were 105 new people with a confirmed positive test result reported today (November 21) making a total for Thanet of 3,148.
The data says there have been 18 deaths, within 28 days of a positive covid test, between November 15-21, making a total of 137 in Thanet. Covid-19 is mentioned on the death certificate but may not be the primary cause of death.
According to Dr. Robert Schmerling, in Harvard Health Publishing, “The reported rate of false negatives is as low as 2% and as high as 37%. The reported rate of false positives—that is, a test that says you have the virus when you actually do not—is 5% or lower.”
Support is available through Kent Together.