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Children sent home as 'severe sickness and diarrhoea bug' sweeps through school

PUBLISHED: 14:50 21 November 2019 | UPDATED: 15:01 21 November 2019

The Willows Primary School in Downing Close, Ipswich, has sent pupils home after a sick bug swept through the school. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

The Willows Primary School in Downing Close, Ipswich, has sent pupils home after a sick bug swept through the school. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Sarah Lucy brown

An Ipswich primary school has been forced to shut and call in a professional cleaning crew after more than 100 pupils and staff were wiped out by a sickness bug.

The Willows Primary School in Chantry told parents today that they would not be opening on Friday because over a third of pupils have contracted the illness.

The school has described it as a "severe sickness and diarrhoea bug" and have told parents they can collect their children early today if they want to reduce the risk of them being affected. They were told this would not impact on their attendance records.

In a statement the school said: "We have taken the difficult decision to close the school tomorrow.

"This is not a decision that has been taken lightly, however today we have had over one third of our pupils affected by this bug and also many of our staff."

The illness has taken such a severe toll that the school have had to call in a professional cleaning crew to perform what they call a "thorough deep clean" which will sanitise the toilets, classrooms and communal areas.

One concerned parent, who wished to remain anonymous, said she thought the school had made the right decision to close and urged parents not to send their children back to school too soon after a bout of illness.

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The school also reminded parents of their duties for infection control, saying: "Please remember that children must not be back at school within 48 hours of their last instance of sickness or diarrhoea - even if a child seems well then they may still have a bug which can be passed on to other children and staff."

Parents were also told on Wednesday that a case of threadworm had been found in the school and parents should read the NHS website for advice and treatment.

Threadworm is an infection in the gut and is very common, especially among children.

The Willows Primary is part of the Orwell Multi Academy Trust and has around 358 pupils and a nursery.

The trust were contacted but said that they were not in a position to comment at this stage.

Paul Arch, head teacher at The Willows, said: "We have made the difficult but necessary decision to close the school on Friday to prevent the further spread of any germs and to allow for a specialist team of cleaners to carry out a precautionary deep clean.

"We have notified the appropriate authorities of the situation.

"We will be looking forward to seeing all of our pupils back in school next week."

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