Year group at Winterbourne Academy self-isolating after confirmed COVID-19 cases
CHILDREN in an entire year group at Winterbourne Academy have been told to self-isolate after two confirmed cases of coronavirus.
All Year 10 pupils at the school are currently staying at home, along with another 39 in other years.
The Olympus Academy Trust, which runs the 1,693-pupil school in Winterbourne High Street, says it is not able to comment on reports that cases of the disease affecting pupils had increased as the result of a recent illegal rave and sports activities outside school.
Seven Year 10 children had already been self-isolating before the whole year group was sent home "as a precaution".
By this week there were five pupils in Year 7, nine in Year 8, six in Year 9, 10 in Year 11, six students in Year 12 and three in Year 13 self-isolating.
Year 10 pupils will be able to return to school from November 20 if they do not develop symptoms.
In total there have been 21 confirmed COVID-19 cases involving the school community since September - 17 pupils and four adults.
Olympus Academy Trust chief executive officer Dave Baker said: "It is regrettable that the whole of Year 10 has had to self-isolate but the increase in positive test numbers in schools across the Trust in recent weeks reflects the increase in the wider community, so it is inevitable that we are going to see whole bubbles having to self-isolate.
"For the vast majority of those cases, it is clear that transmission had nothing to do with school.
"There are robust arrangements in place to ensure both staff and student safety are the highest priority, including high levels of segregation within school for the year group bubbles.”
The school says the "integrity of the bubbles in school" is a high priority and people in different year group bubbles do not mix.
The trust also has a policy for face masks to be worn in communal spaces by all secondary school pupils and staff, and also asks parents and carers of primary pupils to wear face coverings when dropping off and collecting their children.
Year 11 parents were told that there had been "a gathering" in the Frampton area on October 31 and were asked to check whether their children had attended it, although no further details were given.
A spokesperson said: "Whilst there has been speculation about an illegal rave and mixed-age sports adding to the risk of spreading the virus, the Trust is not in a position to comment as it was not involved and had no knowledge of these events."
Mr Baker added: "The senior leadership team at Winterbourne have acted with integrity throughout the challenges of recent weeks and have worked closely with the Trust’s executive leadership team, as well as acting on advice from public health colleagues and the Department for Education."