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School Covid outbreak ‘worrying for everyone’, says health secretary

PUBLISHED: 10:06 08 September 2020 | UPDATED: 10:06 08 September 2020

Health secretary and West Suffolk MP Matt Hancock has called the Covid-19 outbreak at Samuel Ward Academy in Haverhill 'worrying' for everyone. Picture: GREGG BROWN/STEFAN ROUSSEAU

Health secretary and West Suffolk MP Matt Hancock has called the Covid-19 outbreak at Samuel Ward Academy in Haverhill 'worrying' for everyone. Picture: GREGG BROWN/STEFAN ROUSSEAU

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Health secretary and West Suffolk MP Matt Hancock has said the outbreak of Covid-19 at Haverhill’s Samuel Ward Academy is “worrying for everyone” - after eight teachers tested positive for the virus.

Andy Hunter, headteacher at Samuel Ward Academy Picture: SAMUEL WARD ACADEMYAndy Hunter, headteacher at Samuel Ward Academy Picture: SAMUEL WARD ACADEMY

Leaders announced on Sunday evening that the Chalkstone Way school would be closing after the members of staff tested positive for coronavirus following a teacher training day last week.

MORE: Suffolk school to close as FIVE members of staff test positive for Covid

There have been no confirmed cases among the 1,276 pupils - but 90 of them have been asked to self-isolate and remote learning has been in place since yesterday, while the school undergoes a deep clean.

Mr Hancock, whose constituency includes the academy, said: “The outbreak of Covid-19 at Samuel Ward is worrying for everyone at the school.

“The safety of pupils and teachers is, of course, the top priority.

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“I want to thank staff at the school, the public health team at Suffolk County Council and Public Health England who are working hard to keep people safe, and to ensure that after the closure for a deep clean of the school, we can stop the spread of the virus and that pupils will be able to return to lessons.

“Everyone is taking this matter extremely seriously, and I am confident that there are robust and effective measures in place at the school to keep everyone safe.”

MORE: 90 school pupils told to self-isolate as eight staff members catch coronavirus

The teacher training day where the transmission is believed to have happened was held on Wednesday, September 2, after one employee came down with symptoms and tested positive on the Friday.

By Sunday, four more had caught the illness and as of Monday the total rose to eight – a further 16 staff are now self-isolating.

Headteacher Andy Hunter said yesterday: “We have not had any news about any cases amongst children in either the classes that are self-isolating or more widely.

“Following successful contact tracing and a deep clean of the school today, Public Health England confirmed the school could re-open when it is ready to do so.”

The school is expected to reopen tomorrow and this will be confirmed after a meeting of the incident management team, made up of public health officials, Suffolk County Council’s children and young people’s team and Unity Schools Partnership, which runs the academy.


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