Confirmed Case (3)
Confirmed single teacher COVID case - 31 'close contacts' to self-isolate
We were hoping that all pupils would be able to return to school week commencing 23 November 2020, but unfortunately, on Saturday 21 November we were advised that one of our teachers had tested positive for COVID-19. The teacher’s last day in school was Wednesday 18 November, as he was required to self-isolate for the rest of last week owing to a confirmed case within his immediate family.
In line with our COVID response plan, the school’s leadership team met in MS Teams on Saturday morning and Headteacher, Chiquita Henson, contacted the Department of Education’s COVID hotline and sought advice from Public Health England. We were advised to track and trace immediate contacts in the 48 hour period prior to the onset of the teacher’s symptoms.
In consultation with the teacher, Chiquita Henson and her team used our seating plans to identify the teacher’s ‘close contacts’ and she applied the advice she has consistently been given rigorously: anyone ‘within 1 metre for 1 minute or 2 metres for 15 minutes.’
While we have made our best endeavours to create space at the front of each classroom to facilitate social distancing, pupils near the front remain in relatively close proximity. Consequently, we were asked to consider those pupils seated directly in front of the teacher’s desk and those nearest the whiteboard in each of the teacher’s classrooms as ‘close contacts’ and, regrettably, they have been asked to self-isolate.
Parents and carers of the 31 affected pupils across Years 7 ,8, 10 and 11 were advised of the need for their children to self-isolate by text and email on Saturday 21 November and we will confirm arrangements for their continuing education on Monday 23 November. This will be in line with what is set out for individual pupils who are required to self-isolate in our Remote Learning Plan.
‘As someone who works in public health, I believe that the school have taken a rational and sensible approach when responding to reports of confirmed cases within the school. They have systematically identified those pupils and staff at higher risk of exposure, ensuring that the number of people needing to self-isolate is kept to a minimum.’ Ruth Woolley, member of Deer Park’s Local Governing Body
‘In coming to any decision, the school has sought all relevant advice and the council is supportive of the measures being taken.’ Sarah Poultney, Education COVID Comms Lead, Gloucestershire County Council
I appreciate none of this is ideal and I share the concerns parents have about some pupils, especially those in Year 11, being asked to self-isolate again. I assure you we will be reviewing our risk assessments and the provision we can make for those at home. We will continue to monitor the situation in school and advise parents and staff accordingly.
Chiquita Henson, Headteacher