Stevenage primary school teacher tests positive for coronavirus days before June 1 reopening date
PUBLISHED: 13:04 28 May 2020 | UPDATED: 10:02 29 May 2020
A teacher at a primary school in Stevenage has tested positive for COVID-19, just over a week before the school is set to partially reopen.
The teacher – who works at Roebuck Academy – is now in a 14-day period of self-isolation, but the positive test has raised serious concerns over the imminent reopening of schools for Nursery, Reception and Year 1 and 6 pupils.
A petition from a Hertfordshire father to prevent schools from reopening on June 1 has already received more than 2,000 signatures, and this is a further blow to parents and staff concerned that safety is not being prioritised.
Public Health England has confirmed extra infection control measures will be in place for Roebuck Academy, and has advised a small group of parents and staff on self-isolation guidance they should now follow.
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It is expected that the school will reopen on Monday, as per the government guidelines – though this has yet to be confirmed by the school.
Dr Deepti Kumar, consultant in communicable disease control at Public Health England East said: “COVID-19 tests will be offered to all staff and children at Roebuck Academy, which should provide insights and help us better understand how the virus spreads in school settings, as we prepare for them to reopen to more pupils over the coming weeks.
MORE: Hertfordshire union issues warning on government plans to reopen schools
“This will help inform what measures schools can take to help prevent further spread of the infection.”
A PHE spokesperson confirmed that testing should confirm whether the virus has affected any of the close contacts at Roebuck Academy, and if there has been any “onward transmission.”
The National Education Union’s Hertfordshire branch yesterday decried the decision to allow Nursery, Reception and Year 1 and 6 pupils to return to school, and suggested a five-point-plan the government must follow first.
Joyce Field, NEU Herts’ district secretary, said: “Your children should be in school, but we must get it right and they must be safe. We believe very strongly that June 1 is too soon and we are asking the government to work with trade unions to establish a plan that we can all agree.”
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