Following advice from public health professionals, Larkrise School in Trowbridge, Royal Wootton Bassett Academy, Dilton Marsh CofE Primary School near Westbury, and Wiltshire College & University Centre’s Trowbridge Campus are taking precautionary COVID-19 measures due to an individual positive case confirmed at each of their settings.
At Royal Wootton Bassett Academy, one pupil in Year 10 has tested positive for COVID-19, and while all precautionary and proper bubble measures have been followed, the school has agreed to take additional precautions with advice from public health professionals and ask all Year 10, a total of 277 pupils, to self-isolate until 30 September.
Anita Ellis, Headteacher at Royal Wootton Bassett Academy, said: “My first thoughts are to the family directly affected by this case; I hope all concerned return to full health soon. My second thoughts are to the Year 10 students and their families who are now having to manage self-isolation and completing schoolwork from home. At Royal Wootton Bassett Academy, we have written detailed risk assessments and return to school documents based on PHE and DfE guidelines and they are evaluated at the end of each day and amended and published each week. The evaluations are based on the effectiveness of what we put in place, student and staff feedback and parent communication.
“Neither case [referring to a previous positive case confirmed on 15 September] we have had was because of transmission in school or from school. We are confident that everything we have put in place has limited and continues to limit transmission in school, but we are not immune to the rising number of cases in the community. No members of staff have needed to self-isolate as a result of either case and I want to reiterate that the school is safe. With persistent clear messages from school and at home, our students and staff will continue to be safe.”
At Dilton Marsh Primary School, the Headteacher has tested positive for COVID-19. Close contacts have been identified and by taking precautionary measures, 24 children from different year groups are self-isolating until 2 October. Eight members of staff are also self-isolating. The school had temporarily closed to all pupils but following conversations with Wiltshire Council and Public Health England, all pupils who have not been identified as close contacts of the Headteacher will now start to return from 25 September on a staggered basis.
Sara Edwards, CEO Acorn Education Trust (representing Dilton Marsh CofE Primary School), said: “ We are of course very sorry that this will cause some disruption to the families of the parents affected. However, we need to keep the school and pupils as safe as possible.
“Following a productive meeting with the local authority, Public Health England and members of Acorn Education Trust, I am pleased to inform parents that we are able to reopen the school to all the pupils who are not self-isolating, and we will start bringing them back from 25 September. We thank the parents for their patience and understanding.
“We continue to learn from these experiences and have further strengthened our COVID-19 measures at the school to give us the best possible chance of avoiding a situation like this from happening again.”
There has also been one confirmed case of a pupil at Larkrise School in Trowbridge. In following the correct precautionary measures, 10 pupils and 10 members of staff are self-isolating until 5 October.
Phil Cook, Head Teacher at Larkrise School, said: “We have had a confirmed case of COVID-19 with a pupil at Larkrise School, Trowbridge.
“In line with guidance from the Department for Education and Public Health England, all children and staff affected as direct contacts are now self-isolating and will return to school on Monday 5 October.
“A deep clean of the area, classrooms and school transport that the pupil has used is also taking place as a further precautionary measure.
“We have completed risk assessments for all of the children affected to ensure they have the support they need during this time, and will provide home learning opportunities so they can continue their learning.
“The safety of our pupils and staff is our priority and we have written to parents to inform them and to reassure them of our processes and practices.”
One student studying at Wiltshire College & University Centre’s Trowbridge campus has tested positive for COVID-19. Following advice from public health professionals, as a precaution the College has asked 24 students to self-isolate until 5 October.
Amanda Burnside, Principal and Chief Executive at Wiltshire College, said: “We have contacted and written to all parents and carers and students to explain the situation. I am really grateful to them for their understanding and support as we know this will cause disruption for these families. The safety of everyone within our college community is the most important thing and we will continue to work with Wiltshire Council and Public Health England to ensure this is managed closely so that our students can continue their vital education.
“We look forward to welcoming everyone back in a couple of weeks.”
All four settings have arranged home learning for all pupils affected.
Kate Blackburn, Director of Public Health for Wiltshire, said: “These are very precautionary measures so that the risk of any transmission within the settings is kept as low as possible. We know these measures can be disruptive for the schools, colleges, pupils, students and their families, but it’s vital we keep the virus under control in Wiltshire, and we thank everyone involved for the support with this.
“It is important those asked to self-isolate do adhere to the government guidance; if they don’t have symptoms they do not need to get a test. However, if someone has symptoms the household must isolate and seek a test.”
“I would like to remind everyone that the best way to prevent the spread of the virus is to regularly wash your hands, maintain social distancing and wear a face covering where appropriate”.