A Brighton secondary school has sent home an entire year group as the number of students in covid self-isolation continues to soar.
Dorothy Stringer head Matt Hillier has written to parents and carers to tell them that pupils in year 10 would switch to online learning only from tomorrow (Thursday 15 July).
The switch to remote lessons will continue until the end of term on Thursday 22 July.
Mr Hillier wrote: “The transmission of the delta variant seems to have adversely impacted on the year 10 year group.
“As of today, we have over 40 per cent of the year group self-isolating because they have been in close contact with a positive case.
“As the infections are continuing to rise in the city, we have had to make the difficult decision to move to online learning for year 10 only.”
He added: “All students who need it have been allocated IT equipment. This should not be a barrier to learning.
“We will still be open for year 10 students who are classified as vulnerable or the children of key workers.
“They will have to wear a mask in classrooms and distance from any others in the class.
“This way we can minimise the transmission among the year group and then hopefully stop any further groups of students needing to isolate.
“All other year groups (years 7 to 9) will continue to attend school as normal (unless they are isolating) as cases have been minimal in the younger year groups.”
Mr Hillier also wrote: “While learning will continue, this is not the end of term we wanted for our year 10s.
“Their teachers will plan for learning to ensure students can continue to make progress.
“The year 10 parents’ evening will go ahead as scheduled tomorrow.”
The latest official figures indicate that the number of new coronavirus cases locally is slowing among under-15s but rising in the 15 to 29 age group and among 30 to 39s.
The overall number of new cases appears to have fallen slightly in Brighton and Hove, with 1,230 confirmed in the seven days to Saturday 10 July, according to Public Health England.
This is down from 1,267 in the previous seven days. The weekly rate of new cases stood at 422.8 for every 100,000 people, down from 435.6 the week before.
There were 10 patients with covid-19 in the Royal Sussex County Hospital, in Brighton, today – and five or fewer were in high dependency or intensive care beds, the NHS said.
Deaths remain rare, with about two death certificates a month mentioning covid over the past three months.