Five Copleston High School students in Ipswich test positive for coronavirus
- Credit: Charlotte Bond
Another 130 students at one of Ipswich’s largest high schools are now self-isolating after five Copleston High students tested positive for Covid-19 since the weekend.
The total number of students now self-isolating at the Foxhall Road school is 330, in a school with 2,000 students and 250 members of staff.
The Gippeswyk Community Educational Trust school had its first coronavirus case when a member of staff tested positive last week, meaning 200 students were asked to self-isolate as a precaution.
Following the latest cases, 130 more pupils have been asked to self-isolate, along with three members of staff.
However, principal Andy Green stressed it was important only those who had been in “close contact” with infectious people are asked to self-isolate, as oppose to whole classes - so as many children can remain in classroom education as possible.
“Close contact” is defined as those who have been within two metres of an infectious person for 15mins or more, or within one metre of an infectious person for 60secs or more.
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As an extra precaution, Copleston has also decided to cancel all indoor lettings of its community facilities to external hirers in light of the rapid expansion of cases nationwide.
It has also limited weekend use of its football facilities to a maximum of one spectator per child.
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Mr Green said the school was being “very safety conscious” and was taking every precaution within the school, to minimise risk for people on site.
However, he said: “Until such time as there’s a vaccine, we can only reduce the risk - we can’t eradicate it.”
He added that the clear seating plan in place for all classes meant fewer students have had to self-isolate.
That not only means they have avoided greater personal restrictions but can also continue to have an education in school, as oppose to learning at home.
“Track and tracing contacts is quite a complex procedure, if done properly,” Mr Green said.
“A ‘contact’ is not every person who has been in the classroom.
“We have been ascertaining who the contacts are to make sure the right people self-isolate - that is the DfE guidance.
“We had a student on Tuesday who tested positive. If we’d isolated every child in their classes, we’d have self-isolated 88 students.
“By applying the guidance properly, we’ve isolated 47 - that’s 41 students who would’ve missed an education they’re entitled to.
“The government has made it very clear that, whatever tier an area is in, schools will remain open.
“It’s very important that we apply the rules properly, so fewer children have self-isolate.”
Guidance from the Department for Education (DfE) says: “Schools must send home those people who have been in close contact with the person who has tested positive, advising them to self-isolate for 14 days since they were last in close contact with that person when they were infectious.”