The head of Brighton and Hove’s biggest school has written to parents to reassure them after it emerged on Friday that a teaching assistant had tested positive for the coronavirus.
Claire Jarman said that no other members of staff or students had reported having any symptoms.
And she said that the school had had a “deep clean” including the use of “fogging” to ensure that surfaces stayed disinfected.
Meanwhile, the co-chair of governors Geri Silverstone told the BBC this morning (Monday 7 September) that just 45 pupils and five teaching assistants were off as a result of the case.
But some parents said that there were fewer pupils returning to school today than expected, with one estimating that about 40 per cent had turned up.
The head emailed parents last night to say: “I want to write to you to update you about the situation I alerted you to on Friday and reassure you that we have taken all measures we can to ensure the school is a safe place to return to.
“As well as our regular Friday evening deep clean, we added all the areas that our covid-positive colleague had been in for a deep clean with a system similar to ‘fogging’ which leaves an invisible disinfectant barrier on surfaces which lasts for over a week.
“So far no other member of staff or student has reported developing symptoms but of course several students and a small number of staff will have to isolate for a period and we continue to monitor the situation.
“In answer to a number of queries I have had, the colleague in question was asymptomatic and had no idea they were carrying the virus until contacted by track and trace, at which point they had left the site for the day and did not return again.
“I also want to dispel any ideas that this colleague had been abroad, recently flown, visited any region of the UK in local lockdown or participated in any other risky behaviours. They had not.
“Public Health England very thoroughly and carefully identified those who should self-isolate according to the criteria below
“Direct close contacts: Face to face contact with a person with a positive coronavirus test result, for any length of time within one metre, including being coughed on, a face to face conversation, unprotected physical contact (skin to skin). This includes exposure within one metre for one minute or longer.
“Proximity contacts: Extended close contact (within 2m for more than 15 minutes) with a person with a positive coronavirus test result.
“Small vehicle contacts: Travelled in a small vehicle with a person with a positive coronavirus test result.
“As I said on Friday, social distancing is of paramount importance as just one minute at the proximity of one metre, or 15 minutes at two metres, means you are a close direct contact.
“Therefore, we have revised our guidance to staff and students so that, should another positive case occur, we lessen the risk and hopefully minimise the numbers required to self-isolate.
- Teachers should stay in their 2m zoned off area at the front of the classroom.
- Students should always be facing the front and not have conversations in pairs (facing each other).
- Where the classroom does not allow for rows facing the front, masks to be worn at all times.
- If more than one adult is in a room, they must keep over 2m distance from each other.
- Teaching assistants will wear masks/visors and support children from behind or at the side.
- Anything to be handed out should either be pre-laid out on desks or, if that’s not possible, a pile on a first desk/similar where students enter and they each pick one up themselves.
- Do not share text books without sanitising before and after.
- Ensure all windows and doors are open as wide as possible.
- When you need to have conversations, keep your 2m distance and consider side by side rather than face to face.
- Keep up the hand sanitising and desk cleaning etc. at start and end of lessons.
- Where you can have any conversations, one to ones, mentoring etc, outside, do so.
“This is not the exhaustive list, but refined or additional measures we have added. Risks are reduced considerably when outside and so we will be sticking to our plan to have all break times outside.
“It will be warm this week but when it gets cooler, a warm waterproof coat with a hood will be essential.
“I will be in touch further but I wanted to get this out to you tonight before school resumes for years 9, 10, and 11 tomorrow.”
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