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Headteacher at Covid-hit school hits back at ‘aggressive and hurtful’ social media comments

PUBLISHED: 19:11 09 September 2020 | UPDATED: 11:44 10 September 2020

Andy Hunter, headteacher at Samuel Ward Academy in Haverhill, which has been hit by a coronavirus outbreak Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND/SAMUEL WARD ACADEMY

Andy Hunter, headteacher at Samuel Ward Academy in Haverhill, which has been hit by a coronavirus outbreak Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND/SAMUEL WARD ACADEMY

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The headteacher of Haverhill’s Samuel Ward Academy has defended his staff from “very aggressive and hurtful” social media comments criticising the school’s Covid-19 outbreak.

The school closed on Monday, September 7, after a total of eight teachers tested positive for the virus after a teacher training day last Wednesday.

Remaining closed on Tuesday for a deep clean, the school reopened today.

However, 130 pupils have been asked to self-isolate following the news.

Andy Hunter, headteacher at the academy, confirmed another teacher – who has been isolating since last week – has now tested positive for the virus. However, there were no new track and trace requirements following the result.

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

In a message to parents and carers today, the head admitted he had been disappointed to see rumours on social media about people at the school.

He said: “I don’t normally pay any attention to social media rumours but sadly I’ve heard some very aggressive and hurtful things about the people at Samuel Ward who have been unfortunate enough to catch this disease.

“I am absolutely clear that no-one is to blame and no-one has done anything wrong. Any criticism towards any groups or individuals is totally misplaced and totally unacceptable.

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“We had worked hard to make the school safe before we reopened.

“We were all taken by surprise by how quickly Covid spread and we have all adapted our behaviour even further to stop it happening again.

“Schools across the country will be looking to us to help them adapt their precautions, because they will be realising this week that it could have happened to them.”

MORE: School Covid outbreak ‘worrying for everyone’, says health secretary

He added that all staff who have tested positive for the virus are isolating, and all staff who were within two metres of any of them for 15 minutes or more are also isolating.

Addressing further social media rumours, he said: “I gather that some people think there are members of staff in school awaiting test results.

“That is absolutely not the case.”

The school has nearly had all of the test results back and some students were back in class today after the two days of closure.

There have been no confirmed cases among the 1,276 pupils at the school.

MORE: School hit by coronavirus outbreak will not fully re-open for two weeks - as 50 staff tested


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