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Schools in Cranbrook and Maidstone send students home after Covid outbreak

Four more secondary schools have sent classes home due to Covid.

At Cranbrook School, headmaster Dr John Weeds confirmed that all Year 11 students had been told to stay at home after a confirmed case among one of their number.

Headmaster Dr John Weeds at Cranbrook School
Headmaster Dr John Weeds at Cranbrook School

Meanwhile at Maidstone Grammar School, both Year 12 and Year 13 students have also been sent home and told to self-isolate after one student in each year group had developed symptoms. That's a total of 338 students.

A spokesman said the decision had been taken to send whole year groups home rather than individual classes because the students shared a common room where they may have been in contact with the infected students.

They will be away for two weeks, but online lessons are starting today.

Five pupils, all from Year 11, have also tested positive in St Augustine Academy in Maidstone's Oakwood Road.

A total of 22 pupils have been sent home to self isolate while the rest of the year attend classes as normal.

St Augustine Academy. Picture: Google Street View
St Augustine Academy. Picture: Google Street View

Although some staff have been off with similar symptoms to Covid-19 none have tested positive.

Principal Jason Feldwick said: "St Augustine Academy, like all schools in the area, has a rigorous risk assessment and procedures in place to ensure that we are Covid secure.

"We report all Covid-19 confirmed cases to the Local Authority, the Woodard Academies Trust and all our stakeholders including parents and staff.

"We take advice from the national Department for Education helpline and the local health protection team. We have followed their advice.

"I can confirm that we have had five positive cases in Year 11. No other year groups have had confirmed cases.

Brunswick House Primary School in Leafy Lane. Picture: Andy Jones
Brunswick House Primary School in Leafy Lane. Picture: Andy Jones

"Two Year 11 pupils became positive over half term and did not return to the Academy.

"Two pupils only attended the first day back and then were isolated either due to symptoms or being a close contact.

"One pupil attended two days.

"All their close contacts have been asked to isolate as per our advice.

"We will decide all future actions on a case by case basis, taking advice from the local and national health professionals."

Bower Grove School in Fant Lane. Picture: Google Street View
Bower Grove School in Fant Lane. Picture: Google Street View

Some 30 pupils and six members of staff from Brunswick House Primary in Leafy Lane, have also been sent home to self isolate after a pupil in Year 3 contracted the virus.

Head teacher Wendy Skinner said: “Unfortunately, we have had a confirmed case of Covid-19 within our Year 3 bubble.

"My colleagues and I are following Public Health England (PHE) guidance to ensure the safety and well-being of everyone within the school community and as a result 30 pupils and six members of staff will be self-isolating at home until Wednesday, November 18.

"Home learning will be provided via Google Classroom and staff will support pupils with their learning remotely.

“The rest of the school remains open with staff and pupils continuing to follow PHE guidance in terms of social distancing, handwashing and cleaning to minimise the spread of the virus and ensure everyone can continue to learn and work in a safe environment.

“I would like to thank the staff, our parents and carers and our pupils for their support and understanding at this difficult time.”

Three members of teaching staff and two members of support staff at Bower Grove School have also tested positive.

Only one of these staff members had been in contact with pupils since classes resumed after half-term.

The tests means 12 pupils in one Year 9 classes, and two members of staff who work closely with them, have been asked to self-isolate for 14 days.

Head teacher Mrs Salter said: “My colleagues and I are following Public Health England (PHE) guidance to ensure the safety and well-being of everyone within the school community.

"Home learning will be provided, tailored to pupils’ needs and abilities, and staff will support pupils with their learning remotely.

“A number of our staff members are self-isolating due to having been identified as contacts of people, most not connected to the school, who have tested positive for the virus.

"Additionally, we have a small number of staff who are shielding. Our pupils have very complex needs and for their safety and well-being, as a result of the staff shortages, we have taken the decision to ask the 12 pupils in our Year 4 class, 10 pupils in a mixed Key Stage 2 class and six pupils in our Enrichment Provision for Key Stages 3 and 4 to remain at home for up to five days until sufficient staff have returned to school.

“The rest of the school remains open with staff and pupils continuing to follow PHE guidance in terms of social distancing, handwashing and cleaning to minimise the spread of the virus and ensure we can all continue to learn and work in a safe environment."

The schools join a growing number who currently have pupils staying at home either because the staff or students have contracted the virus.

They include Barming Primary School in Maidstone, The Oasis Academy in Minster, and Westlands School in Sittingbourne.

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