School closes under coronavirus guidelines as teaching staff with symptoms self-isolate
A PRIMARY school has had to close under coronavirus guidelines after seven members of staff reported symptoms consistent with the disease.
Elm Park Primary in Winterbourne closed today after the staff, who represent half of the school’s teachers and a third of its teaching assistants, had to self-isolate after reporting high temperatures and a persistent cough.
Parents have been informed of the closure, which has taken place with immediate effect and will last at least a week.
A South Gloucestershire Council spokesperson has stressed that none of the staff have tested positive for coronavirus but they need self-isolate for seven days, in accordance with government guidelines, and the school was unable to continue with a much-reduced level of staff cover.
Explaining the decision to close in a letter to parents, acting head teacher Carol Bond said: “This morning we were in the situation where 50% of our teaching staff and 33% of our teaching assistants have had to self-isolate due to high temperatures and a persistent cough, as per the current government guidelines.
“Due to this, it was impossible to obtain cover for the classes, meaning that we would not have been able to secure the health and safety pupil to staff ratio.
“In order to ensure the safety of our children, staff and families, I have organised for the school to have a full deep clean. This will take place over the next few days.
“Having sought advice from the local authority and from up-to-date information on the DfE website, the chair of governors and I have made the decision to close the school for the rest of this week.
“This evening, I will be attending a local authority briefing, which is advising all head teachers about next steps for school.
“Once I have further information, I will update all families.
“I am sure you will join me in wishing all of our staff a speedy recovery and I hope to be able to welcome you all back to school on Monday 23rd March.”
Mrs Bond advised parents to check the latest government guidelines for further advice.
She said: “Thank you for your continued support at this unprecedented time.”
A council spokesperson said the decision had been communicated to parents and the school was being transparent about the reasons for the closure.
He added: “They have no option but to close. They can’t continue to provide the required staff-pupil ratio.
“The school has done absolutely everything right.”
The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in South Gloucestershire rose to 5 today. Bristol currently has 7 and Gloucestershire 6.