CONCERNS have been raised over the re-opening of schools in Bradford amid confirmed Covid-19 cases and worries over social distancing.
Earlier this week, it emerged there had been a positive coronavirus case at Dixons Kings Academy in Lidget Green – just days after re-opening. The school revealed the news in a letter to parents and guardians last Friday.
On Tuesday, it also came to light that there had been a confirmed case of Covid-19 at another of the Dixons Academies Trust’s schools
Ian Murch Bradford, president of the National Education Union in Bradford, said news of cases had not come as a surprise as there were more than 20 cases in schools, that they knew of, before the summer holidays when far fewer children were in.
He said: “It’s going to be the reality in making the decision to open all schools fully, that we are going to have coronavirus cases in them – it’s bound to happen. It’s very important to try and minimise the risk of that. It’s very important people follow the rules that have been set up. It’s easy to forget, but it’s very important to remember.We have to be very careful, there is a risk to people’s health.”
A letter seen by the Telegraph & Argus, sent out on Tuesday to parents and guardians of children who have not yet started the new school term at Dixons Trinity Academy, said: “We have been advised by Public Health England that there has been a confirmed case of Covid-19 within the school.
“We are aware your child has not yet started the new term with us, but we wanted to keep you informed of the situation ahead of your child starting school.
“We have been working closely with Public Health England and following the necessary, now standard, procedures.
“The small number of people who have been in direct prolonged contact with the confirmed case in school have received a letter advising them to stay at home for 14 days. They will therefore not be in school when your child starts the new term.”
A spokesperson for Dixons Academies Trust said: “Because the Dixons Academies traditionally start back a week earlier than most schools, we are experiencing what we all expect will become part of the new normal for education providers.
“We have so far had two members of staff and one student across three of our 12 academies who have tested positive. As an entirely precautionary measure, a small number of staff and students have been asked to self-isolate. All our academies remain open as usual. There is no indication that the illness has been spread within our academies.
“As a Trust with over 1,000 employees and over 8,000 students, we have been prepared for this eventuality. In each case, we have worked closely with both Public Health England and the Council and followed all advice to the letter. The students and staff who have been directly affected with the virus are recovering well.”
Later in the day, it then emerged that there had been a further confirmed case of Covid-19 at Dixons Trinity Academy.
A letter said: “We have been advised by Public Health England that there has been a further confirmed case of Covid-19 within the school. Although the second case (a member of staff) does not appear to have been contracted at school, following the advice from Public Health authorities, we are closing our kitchen as a precautionary measure. We will be implementing deep cleaning before we re-open the kitchen on Monday.”
Meanwhile, concerns have been raised about a lack of social distancing at school gates as the new term began. Worrying pictures emerged from St Winefride’s Catholic Primary School in Wibsey (left) and Barkerend Primary School (right).
Ben Lavin, Executive Headteacher at St Winefride’s, said the school was concerned about the lack of social distancing and senior leaders took the decision to stagger start and end times to minimise any further risk.
A Barkerend Primary School spokesperson said several measures have been introduced, including five separate drop-off and pick-up points, limiting parents numbers at school gates and grounds, staggered start and finish times, plus social distancing markers. The spokesperson said the school had been “overwhelmed” by the positive messages it had received and added: “We will remind our parents to stand at a safe distance from each other.”