Coronavirus: joint statement from Shropshire Council and The Community College, Bishop’s Castle
Shropshire Council is working with Public Health England (PHE) Midlands after a positive case of COVID-19 at The Community College in Bishop’s Castle.
The school has undertaken all COVID-19-secure measures in line with both Government and Shropshire Council local guidelines and health protection advice, including isolating all possible school ‘bubble’ contacts. As a precaution, 11 members of staff, including the headteacher, who were close contacts, are being asked to self-isolate for 14 days. Pupils who were close contacts are being contacted by the school, and will also need to self-isolate in line with national guidance.
Due to the number of school staff having to self-isolate, the school has taken the decision to close to all pupils until Tuesday 24 November 2020; however, Year 11 will attend to complete mock examinations. During this time all learning will take place remotely online.
The school has informed parents/guardians/carers and staff of the situation and measures being taken to make the school COVID-19-secure.
Rachel Robinson, Shropshire Council’s director of public health, said:-
“We want to reassure students and parents/carers that the risk of infection remains low. The school has acted responsibly and taken all the necessary precautions to limit the spread of the virus, which in this case requires a class bubbles and members of staff to self-isolate, as well as a full closure.
“Anyone from the school community and their families who is symptomatic will be offered immediate testing. Contact tracing is underway and if anyone is identified as a contact of a confirmed case of COVID-19, a contact adviser from Test and Trace will be in touch with appropriate advice.
“We will continue to work in partnership with Public Health England and the school as we continue to manage this situation.
“Protecting the health of our population remains a priority, and at this time we would also like to remind everyone to stay at home as much as possible and limit your contact with people outside your household and support bubbles.
“Over the past few weeks we have not only seen a continued rise in cases across Shropshire but increasing evidence of the spread of the virus beyond young people to older and potentially more vulnerable age groups.
“If you must go out to work or to buy essential items, it’s crucial that you maintain at least two metres from other people at all times and wear face coverings in indoor settings.
“The Government’s preventative measures, coupled with the continued efforts of Shropshire residents, will hopefully stop the situation from escalating further and protect our most vulnerable residents.”
Reuben Thorley, Headteacher at The Community College, said:
“While we do not have a direct COVID-19 outbreak at the school, we have a considerable number of staff – both teaching and support staff – who are required to self-isolate, including myself.
“This ultimately means that we have found ourselves in a position where there are too few staff available to teach, support and supervise children in school.
“The school will be closed until Tuesday 24 November due to staff shortages. Year 11 will be attending to complete mock examinations but all other year groups will access learning through the Office 365 SharePoint remote learning provision.
“I understand this decision will cause some disruption for parents and carers, but my priority has to be the health and wellbeing of our pupils, staff and the wider community.”
If you have any queries or concerns, call Shropshire Council’s Education Line on 0345 678 9008.
The support line is open from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. Press 5 for back to school enquiries.