More than 500 pupils test positive for Covid since start of term

Headteachers feel they are all prepared for a Covid outbreak. 

Kesgrave High School headteacher Julia Upton, Chantry Academy's Craig D'Cunha and Anna Hennell James, chief executive officer at Orwell Multi Academy Trust feel they are all prepared for a Covid outbreak. - Credit: Sarah Lucy brown/ Orwell Multi Academy Trust

Schools have outlined their emergency plans should there be an outbreak of Covid after 528 pupils and 51 staff tested positive in the first two weeks of term.

At Chantry Academy there have been nine positive cases sine the start of term and they are confident they can control the spread of the virus despite the fact bubbles ended at the close of the summer term.

Pupils no longer have to isolate if they have been in close contact with someone with the virus, but are advised to get a PCR test, and there are contingency plans in case of a major outbreak.

Suffolk County Council, which reports 528 pupils and 51 staff members have contracted Covid so far this academic year, said they are advised to contact Public Health England if five individuals who have had close contact test positive within a 10 day period, or 10% of their staff and pupils. 

In special educational needs schools, and settings with 20 or fewer children, it's two cases. 

Executive headteacher of Chantry Academy, Craig D'Cunha, said: "All parents have been informed of the confirmed case and...

Chantry Academy's Craig D'Cunha - Credit: Archant

Executive headteacher of Chantry Academy, Craig D'Cunha, thinks the relaxation of the measures over the last few weeks has been "lovely" for pupils, allowing them to properly learn but said they were fully prepared for the situation to change. 

Mr D'Cunha added: "Students have had an anxious time and there is still some hesitation so we have small measures like hand sanitising and a one-way system. 

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"We have a contingency plan and we are in a position to do remote learning again." 

Students were tested before they came back and are encouraged to do lateral flow tests at home. 

Anna Hennell James, chief executive officer at Orwell Multi Academy Trust 

Anna Hennell James, chief executive officer at Orwell Multi Academy Trust - Credit: Orwell Multi Academy Trust 

As primary school pupils are not required to be tested, Orwell Multi Academy Trust made up of Brooklands Community, Grange, Handford Hall, Halifax, Willows and Springfield primaries are just testing teachers. 

Anna Hennell James, the trust's chief executive officer, said the outbreak threshold has been "cleverly designed" and they will take advice from PHE if they need to. 

She is happy to have children able to play with more kids after bubbles were disbanded. 

"Children are able to interact with others outside their class and this they say makes it a much more positive experience," she added. 

Julia Upton will join Kesgrave High School from Debenham as headteacher from September. Picture: SAR

Kesgrave High School headteacher Julia Upton - Credit: Archant

Kesgrave High School headteacher Julia Upton is asking parents as well as children to test using lateral flows twice a week and hopes there is no "significant disruption in the months ahead".

"It is important at this stage to balance education experience for our young people with the pandemic," she added. 

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