School to remain closed tomorrow as coronavirus outbreak sees 90 pupils self-isolate

Samuel Ward Academy in Haverhill. Stuart Keeble (left) and headteacher Andy Hunter. Picture: ARCHANT

Samuel Ward Academy in Haverhill. Stuart Keeble (left) and headteacher Andy Hunter. Picture: ARCHANT/SUFFOLK COUNTY COUNCIL/SAMUEL WARD ACADEMY - Credit: ARCHANT/SUFFOLK COUNTY COUNCIL/SAMUEL WARD ACADEMY

A secondary school is due to close again tomorrow after eight staff members tested positive for the coronavirus.

Samuel Ward Academy bosses announced this afternoon that the Haverhill school will shut on Tuesday following an outbreak of Covid-19.

Earlier today school chiefs said 90 pupils had been asked to self-isolate as a precaution. The academy, in Chalkstone Way, has been closed today to allow a deep-clean and contact tracing to take place.

MORE: 90 school pupils told to self-isolate as eight staff members catch coronavirus In a further update this evening, headteacher Andy Hunter said: “With careful consideration, we have decided that Samuel Ward Academy will remain closed to students tomorrow, Tuesday 8th September.

“Remote learning was in place for the children today and will again be tomorrow. I share the disappointment of parents and children with this disruption to the start of the school year, but everyone’s safety is our priority.

“We have not had any news about any cases amongst children in either the classes that are self-isolating or more widely.

“Following successful contact tracing and a deep clean of the school today, Public Health England confirmed the school could re-open when it is ready to do so.

“My team and I made the decision that the school should remain closed tomorrow (Tuesday) as we have a number of staff who are awaiting a test result. We want to keep them away from the school until the results of the tests are known.”

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Mr Hunter said he expects the school to be open for some year groups on Wednesday. This will be confirmed with parents tomorrow after another meeting of the incident management team, made up of public health officials, Suffolk County Council’s children and young people’s team and Unity Schools Partnership, which runs the academy.

Parents have taken to social media to express their concerns over the situation, with some planning to keep their children off school.

The news comes as eight staff members tested positive for the virus following a training day last Wednesday. One employee came down with symptoms and was confirmed as having Covid-19 on Friday, four more had caught the illness by Sunday and as of today, a further three tested positive, bringing the total infected to eight.

No pupils were on site during the training day and there have been no confirmed cases among the school’s 1,276 students, academy bosses said.

Earlier today, three whole classes of pupils were asked to self-isolate as a precaution, with 79 children in Year 7, and 36 in Year 10 affected. A further 16 staff are self-isolating, bosses said this afternoon.

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