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Greenacre Academy closing due to rise in coronavirus cases

Greenacre Academy in Chatham is to close for two weeks due to a rising number of coronavirus cases.

Head teacher Shelley Bridger has written to parents and carers of pupils explaining the decision follows the closure of various year groups over the past nine days, in line with advice from Public Health England.

Greenacre Academy, in Walderslade. Picture: Google Street View
Greenacre Academy, in Walderslade. Picture: Google Street View

Over the weekend the school had two further positive cases for staff members, plus a further case in Sixth Form, and Mrs Bridger explained four year groups were already out of school.

She added: "In the space of the last nine days, there have been seven confirmed cases which have required many students and staff to self-isolate.

"There are now almost 40 staff who are required to self-isolate, some as a direct result of the cases in school, and some for reasons outside of the school.

"This has caused an increase in the number of lessons that are being covered by non-specialist teachers which now stands at over half of all lessons in school.

"This is also coupled with childcare issues for staff where other schools have been forced to close a bubble.

Greenacre Academy head teacher Shelley Bridger
Greenacre Academy head teacher Shelley Bridger

"It is therefore with much regret that, after careful consideration, reflection and analysis I have taken the difficult decision to close Greenacre Academy to all Students until Monday November 30.

"Unfortunately, it is now becoming the case that we do not have the capacity to open safety and deliver a quality education within the school. I believe that closing until Monday 30th is the right decision at the right time to try and ‘circuit break’ the increasing cases."

During the closure lessons will be taught remotely and information will be sent out to students and parents on how the system will work.

The school will carry out a deep clean of the school in addition to the regular cleaning processes.

Mrs Bridger added: "My priority is as it has always been the safety of students and staff - I take my duty of care very seriously and quite honestly, I cannot see another way forward at this time.

"The virus is clearly within the community, with local and national numbers rising on a daily basis. I would ask that you please support the national effort by ensuring that your son/ward is not out and about in the community.

"I appreciate the content of this letter may not be welcomed by all parents but please believe me when I say that I have considered this very carefully and would only use such a drastic measure if I felt that this is the only way forward at this time."

The school says its telephone line will be manned between the hours of 8:30am and 2:30pm daily and parents are welcome to telephone or email for further information.

For the latest coronavirus news and advice, click here.

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