Year 11 students at Hartsdown Academy in Margate have been told to self isolate after a positive covid case was confirmed in the year group.
Parents and carers received a letter today (December 13) to say the students will need to self isolate until December 20. They will return to school on January 4 after the Christmas break.
Year 9 students at Sir Roger Manwood’s School in Sandwich are also in isolation for 10 days after a pupil in the year group tested positive for covid.
A letter to parents and carers from head teacher Lee Hunter says the youngster was in school for two days before receiving their positive result – meaning the whole year group needs to take precautionary action.
Mr Hunter also informed parents that the isolation period has now been reduced from 14 days to 10 by government and said anyone going for community testing – without symptoms – does not have to self isolate while they are awaiting the test result,
He added “If all staff and students did this, then of course there would be no-one in school on Monday or Tuesday until their test result arrived! It is only those who receive a positive result – showing that the person is an asymptomatic carrier – that have to self-isolate for 10 days upon receipt of the test result.
“Personally, I think the government would do a far better job of reducing the number of cases in schools if they would get the message out across the country that most young people are not presenting with any of the three official COVID symptoms.
“Get a test if your child shows any sign of feeling off colour – however mild. Sniffly nose, slight sore throat, slight headache, fatigue, vomiting, diarrhoea, a ‘fuzzy’ head, slight muscle ache – the list goes on. While this pandemic continues, treat anything in a teenager that is out of the ordinary as possibly being COVID. By the time the three symptoms appear (and they do not always appear) the child could have been infecting those around them for several days.”
After asking for Year 9 to remain at home, Mr Hunter said: “I cannot tell you how sad I am to be having to do this, especially as last week was the first school week without any confirmed case since we had our first case back in early November.
“If we are to have any chance of getting through to the end of term with all of our remaining year groups still in school, then every parent and carer needs to have this heightened level of awareness and show the utmost caution.”
The head teacher also predicts a rise in positive cases after the Christmas holidays.
He said: “Not wanting to be too pessimistic, but I have to say that I think it will be even more necessary for this attitude to be taken next term, at least at the start, given the high likelihood of a growth in confirmed case numbers due to the relaxing of the rules over Christmas.”
Upton Junior School in Broadstairs has alerted parents and carers of children in Year 6 that one of the bubbles now needs to self isolate up to, and including, Christmas Eve and that test results are being awaited for a possible case in Year 3.
Some schools in Thanet, including Upton, St George’s, Newington and King Ethelbert’s, have said parents can keep their youngsters to learn from home in the coming week – the last of the school term – to avoid the risk of people having to self isolate at Christmas.
Note: Newlands is expecting children in for the final week of term and was included in the above list in error.
Testing should be carried out for all staff and students at least twice weekly in all schools and colleges if we are ever to get on top of this virus.
Closing the schools for a rigorous “circuit breaker” would have helped.
The sad thing is that anyone have to quarantine from today onwards will miss Christmas.