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East of England’s schools recorded highest number of Covid-19 cases in June - report

PUBLISHED: 07:30 24 August 2020

Schools reopened to certain year groups on June 1 and the government are planning on bringing all students back in September Picture: GETTY IMAGES/ISTOCKPHOTO

Schools reopened to certain year groups on June 1 and the government are planning on bringing all students back in September Picture: GETTY IMAGES/ISTOCKPHOTO

Schools in the East of England had the highest number of individual confirmed Covid-19 cases in the country throughout June, it has emerged.

Public Heath England data on coronavirus infection rates in educational settings has revealed there were 20 single confirmed cases of the disease in the region’s schools throughout the month.

However, schools in the East of England recorded just two confirmed outbreaks in June - with Yorkshire and the Humber reporting the country’s highest at 11.

Throughout England, there were 67 single confirmed cases and 30 verified outbreaks in educational settings in the first month of schools reopening.

In the study, an ‘outbreak’ refers to two or more epidemiologically-linked cases diagnosed within a 14-day time frame.

Hamford Primary School, in Walton-on-the-Naze, was forced to close back in May after two students returned positive Covid-19 tests.

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A group of children at Aldeburgh Primary School in Suffolk were also forced into self-isolation for two weeks in July after a pupil tested positive for the virus.

Schools partially reopened to students in Reception, Year 1, Year 6, Year 10 and Year 12 on June 1, but were open throughout the lockdown for the children of key workers.

Public Health England has also said school closures “may be necessary” in the event of a localised lockdown, should infection rates rise.

Kevin Courtney, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, called for more teachers to be hired to compensate for school staff being forced into self-isolation when a student or colleague tests positive for coronavirus.

He said: “Government advice needs to cover the possible self-isolation of bubbles and, in extremis, moving to rotas or to more limited opening.

“It needs to cover advice to heads about the protections needed for staff in high-risk categories if infection rates rise.

“Government should be employing more teachers and seeking extra teaching spaces to allow education to continue in a Covid-secure manner if infections rise.”

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