Published: 11:33, 11 September 2020
| Updated: 12:24, 11 September 2020
A head teacher has explained why an entire class was sent home despite no positive confirmation of coronavirus among pupils.
Ruth Powell, who is in charge of St Katherine's, a primary school in Snodland, said the school took speedy action when 10 pupils in Year 3 started showing symptoms of a persistent cough and a temperature.
Parents were informed in emails and texts this week that a Year 3 class was being asked to stay off school. Other children within the wider Year 3 bubble are still able to attend.
Mrs Powell said: "Coronavirus has not yet been confirmed, however my role is to look at what is happening in the school and the percentages of children who have an illness.
"I was not happy with 10 pupils showing these symptoms which happened fairly suddenly, and so the health of everyone is the priority, which is why we took action and the classroom was immediately cleaned.
"All being well they do not have Covid-19 and everyone can begin returning to school soon. I don't know how long that will be."
Mrs Powell said children will now have to be tested.
While the government aims to have test results returned within 72 hours, there have been delays and issues getting a slot at drive-through centres.
One woman in Maidstone was offered a test slot in Cardiff. Postal coronavirus testing kits naturally take longer to confirm a result.
Mrs Powell added: "All of that means it is a struggle for us at school if parents don't get the test results back in 48 hours. However, we had to make a decision on the health of that particular class in the absence of a test.
"And of course, we all realise coughs and colds are normal at this time of year. But we cannot take any chances.
"I'd really like to say how great and supportive our parents have been and we will let them know as soon as possible when their children can return."
Her words come as four Sittingbourne schools had to send pupils home after coronavirus cases were confirmed. And a health expert says it is inevitable more school bubbles will have to be sent home as classes return to full capacity.
The school, in St Katherine's Lane, remained open during the full UK lockdown and Mrs Powell said detailed risk assessments for safety and social distancing were developed and fully tested by the management team, which included a practise day.
Three separate entrances have been created and the playing field has been divided up into zones with hazard tape.