School in Newark closes as student teacher self-isolates

A school in Newark closed on Friday after a student teacher self-isolated as a precaution, but it said it could neither confirm or disprove if it was a case of coronavirus.

In a letter to parents and carers, Sarah Clarke, Headteacher of William Gladstone Church of England Primary Academy in Newark, explained the reasons for the closure.

Pupils should continue to attend school from Monday, March 16.

In the letter, which was also posted on the school’s Facebook page, it said the student teacher had a mild cough and a slightly raised temperature but otherwise felt well.

The teacher then self-isolated following the government’s guidance.

As a precautionary measure, the school has put in place a contingency plan to support the learning of its students in the unlikely event of its closure – click here for more information.

Within the letter it said: “We are all very hopeful that this is just a normal cold virus but have taken the extra precaution to close school for one day to facilitate a deep clean in all areas.

“This student teacher cannot be tested as the government has said that they will now only test people who need hospital treatment. This leaves me in a very difficult position.

“I cannot either confirm or disprove if this is a case of COVID-19. Following Public Health England guidelines, and contact with the Department for Education, there is no need at this stage for the school to take further action, and your child should continue to attend school as from Monday.

“Their advice is to monitor the situation in school and seek further advice if we have concerns. The safety of your child is always the forefront of our priorities in school.

“I have been asked by the Department for Education to reassure parents that they are happy with the steps we are taking to minimise the chances of the virus spreading in the school but also that if any parent has any concerns, to encourage them to contact the DfE direct on 0800 046 8687.

“I can confirm that areas of the school have undergone a deep clean and we have already implemented more thorough cleaning practices across the school since returning from the half-term break. All the children and staff are washing hands regularly.

“I will of course update you on this and all matters concerning Coronavirus regularly as the picture develops. I am hopeful that this is an over cautious move on our part; we want to be extra vigilant and hope that you will support us in our efforts to follow guidelines.”

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