Some students at a school near Bury St Edmunds have been given permission to work from home after a "significant rise" in the number of positive Covid cases.

Teachers at Thurston Community College are being asked to limit their movements around the classroom as the school implements stricter safety procedures until the October half term following the rise in cases.

A statement on the schools website says: "Over the weekend we have seen a significant rise in positive Covid-19 cases, twice as many cases as last Monday — the majority of which have been in Year 11.

"We have had a long conversation with Public Health and the Suffolk Covid Team to discuss in detail any additional measures that the College can take and the actions they can support us with.

"This was helpful as they also have the bigger picture on what is happening in our wider community and other local schools."

Five other Suffolk schools are currently operating under enhanced coronavirus measures, according to Suffolk County Council.

As a result the additional measures that will be in place for the next two weeks are as follows:

  • Any student who is classed as extremely clinically vulnerable has permission to work from home.
  • All staff and students (other than those exempt for medical reasons) will be expected to wear a face covering including in classrooms and social spaces.
  • Students will be expected to sanitise their hands on entry and exit to the College and classrooms.
  • Teachers and staff will be asked to limit their movement around the classroom.
  • Windows and doors will continue to be open to ensure an airflow.
  • Students who are living with someone who has tested positive should isolate for three days and take a PCR test.
  • Any student who feels unwell should remain at home and arrange for a PCR test.
  • All educational visits and sporting fixtures will be cancelled until after half term for Years 7 to 11.
  • All assemblies will be delivered virtually
  • After school enrichment will be offered on a year group basis not in mixed year groups.

This does not currently apply to the Beyton Sixth Campus, due to there only being three positive cases on that site.

It comes as former Suffolk headteacher Geoff Barton, who is now general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said the vaccine rollout in schools has been too slow.

He said: "We welcome the intervention of the Education Secretary in encouraging take-up of Covid vaccinations, and indeed anything else that can be done to boost this crucial programme.

“However, school leaders are increasingly frustrated about delays to the rollout of coronavirus vaccinations. There appear to be logistical issues around the capacity of health teams to deliver vaccinations at the speed and scale required.

“The urgency of this programme is self-evident from the fact that the latest government statistics show that more than 200,000 pupils were out of school at the latest count because of coronavirus-related reasons. Many schools are also experiencing teacher shortages because staff are contracting the virus.

“This level of disruption continues to impact on learning after 18 months of the pandemic and the government must do everything possible to ensure that the vaccination programme is properly resourced.

“If walk-in centres would help to boost take-up and speed of delivery we would very much welcome that.”