Published: 08:55, 07 December 2020
| Updated: 08:56, 07 December 2020
A primary school has shut its doors until next term after a "significant rise" in Covid-19 cases led to staff shortages.
Temple Hill Primary Academy in Dartford says it has seen a sharp increase in cases among staff, pupil and parents over the last two weeks.
The rising number of positive tests has seen a reduction in the number of teaching staff available.
This has also had a knock-on effect on its ability to run other key services for pupils such as lunchtime supervision and breakfast club.
As a result the school says it has made the "very difficult decision" to close the academy for the last two weeks of term, adding it feels this is the "right decision" to keep its school community safe.
Garry Ratcliffe, chief executive of the Galaxy Trust, which heads up the school and two others in Dartford, said: "I can confirm that the headteacher, in consultation with The Galaxy Trust and Public Health England, has made the very difficult decision to close Temple Hill Primary Academy for the last two weeks of term.
"This is due to rising numbers of positive cases within the staff, pupil and parent community.
"Over the last two weeks, we have seen a significant rise that has not only meant the closure of year group bubbles, but also the reduction in available staff to run other services such as lunchtime supervision and breakfast club.
"We want to keep our Temple Hill community safe and secure, so this is absolutely the right decision to make."
Teachers will start online learning for all pupils starting from today.
The academy will also continue to support families throughout this period – after setting up a pop up food bank in October.
This will include distributing supermarket vouchers to those eligible for free school meals for the next two weeks, directly from the school.
Mr Ratcliffe, added: "Never before have we faced such challenging circumstances, but I would like to pay tribute to a dedicated and hardworking staff team, our resilient and amazing pupils, and our supportive parent body.
"We very much look forward to welcoming everyone back to school in January."