Sixth form student becomes third coronavirus case at Hove school

Posted On 10 Sep 2020 at 6:59 pm

A sixth former has become the third person to test positive for the coronavirus at Cardinal Newman Catholic School in Hove since the start of term.

Head teacher Claire Jarman wrote to parents to share the news.

She said: “In the interests of transparency I am writing to you today to inform you that a year 13 student informed us yesterday that they had tested covid positive.

“This is a very self-contained incident. The student had been in for one lesson only this week.

“There had been no contact whatsoever with the two colleagues who have tested positive.

“The student was only in the college building which is separate to the rest of the school.

“We informed PHE (Public Health England) and they were happy to confirm we need only isolate a handful of students who were direct contacts and to inform the rest of that class.

“This is why you haven’t received a template letter from PHE as you did with the other previous incident.

“The classroom directly involved, the one adjacent to it and the office the teacher works in have all been ‘fogged’ as a precautionary measure.

“As I communicate this to you, I am very aware that this letter may well end up printed in local news outlets.

“This diverts a considerable amount of school energy and attention away from what we should be doing which is ensuring that we have the safest and the best possible school for the students and staff.

“Although a comment from a member of the public, against a recent press article, describing me as having ‘the intelligence of a turkey and the dignity of a hyena or vulture’ did provide material for my year 11 class where it was generally agreed that the use of metaphor was possibly ineffective and definitely confusing.

“However, I have been overwhelmed by the supportive and grateful messages coming from so many parents and, therefore, to end on a positive, I am incredibly grateful to have such a strong, supportive and helpful parental body and my ambition is that we grow and develop these relationships as we go forward together for the good of everyone in our Newman family.”

  1. Cormac Reply

    I thought the school was on the front foot and actively communicating with the media, which of course it should. It’s a publicly-funded organisation and people are naturally worried about Covid, and timely communication gives a measure of confidence and reassurance.
    However, if I read this right, the head is saying that it falls to parents or others to ensure the media, and by extension, the public are properly and appropriately informed.
    Forget metaphor lessons with English students, how about discussing transparency, responsibility and accountability with Politics students or in RE lessons.

  2. Mary M. Reply

    If that’s what the head really said, it’s appalling. She’s meant to be running a public service, not a private fiefdom. Or is the culture of cover-up as engrained as it was during the era of paedophile priests in the Catholic Church?

  3. madeleine Reply

    The Pope has spoken out about gossip, trolling and fake news!

  4. Jean Reply

    Talk of fake news reminds me of the Edmund Burke quotation: ‘The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.’
    It’s just one reason why the school should share this sort of news proactively, not just with those immediately affected, but with the wider community where their students mix with others, young and old.
    When it comes to coronavirus, ignorance is not bliss. The school would be right to take proper steps to make sure the public isn’t left in the dark and reliant on purveyors of fake news.
    We’re lucky to have the likes of Brighton and Hove News, and the kind of people who share things with them, when to judge by the headteacher’s comments, she would rather seem to prefer to keep the public in the dark.

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