Schools

School partially closes after ‘rapid spike’ in teacher Covid cases

Uppingham Community College said it was 'becoming unsafe' to operate at full capacity as 17 staff absent

Uppingham Community College said it was 'becoming unsafe' to operate at full capacity as 17 staff absent

27 Sep 2023, 14:55

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A school has partially closed due to Covid, with 16 members of staff off this week

A secondary school has been forced to close to three year groups due to a “rapid spike” in Covid cases.

Uppingham Community College in Rutland told parents in a letter yesterday that 13 teaching staff members were absent on Tuesday.

It means that pupils in year 8, 9 and 10 will learn from home between today and Friday, completing work set by teachers.

“We have covered all lessons so far, using our staff who are in school, along with some external supply teachers we have been able to secure,” principal Ben Solly wrote.

“However, we have reached a point where it is becoming unsafe to have all year groups in school.”

He added that three more teachers would not be in school today, with leaders expecting “there to be more Covid cases confirmed overnight”.

Solly confirmed to Schools Week that the total had now reached 17 absent staff members.

Year 7 and 11 pupils have been allowed to remain in school for the rest of the week.

Uppingham said it had prioritised older pupils during their examination year, and year 7 because they were “the youngest children in the school”.

Guidance asks pupils with Covid to stay home

The number of patients in hospital with Covid has risen in recent weeks following the emergence of highly-mutated variant BA.2.86.

NHS officials have said the variant is the most concerning since Omicron and the rollout of booster vaccines for those eligible has been brought forward as a result.

Parents of pupils at the school who test positive for Covid have been advised to keep them off school for three days following the test, in line with government guidance.

Department for Education guidance published in December also notes that adults with positive Covid test results are advised to try to stay home and avoid contact with other people for five days.

Timeframes for children and adults are different because younger people tend to be infectious for less time.

Uppingham expects staffing capacity to return to an “operational level” on Monday, meaning that year groups could return to “business as usual”.

“This was a very difficult decision to make and I am sorry for any inconveniences caused to families,” said Solly.

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