22 Suffolk schools have Covid-19 outbreaks

Teacher helping schoolgirl using a tablet computer in class.

Half the new Covid cases in Suffolk are among those aged 0 to 19. Stock photo - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Around 1,200 Suffolk students have tested positive for Covid-19 in the last fortnight - with 22 schools and colleges now having 10 or more positive virus cases.

Public Health Suffolk chiefs say they are working closely with schools to monitor numbers and outbreaks, as latest figures indicated that more than 50% of all new coronavirus cases were among those aged 0-19 in the county.

Stuart Keeble, Public Health Suffolk director, said: “[Schools] are experiencing higher number of cases than the end of term last year, but that shouldn’t be that surprising because with the roadmap we have removed some of those measures to support and enable education to go forward.

Stuart Keeble, director of public health for Suffolk Picture: SUFFOLK COUNTY COUNCIL

Stuart Keeble, director of public health for Suffolk - Credit: Suffolk County Council

“The assisted testing went very well at secondary schools, and we didn’t see the same level of cases we expected to see, but now we have definitely seen an increase in numbers.

“At the moment we have got 22 schools and colleges with 10 or more cases, and around 1,200 students with a positive case from the 12 September onwards.

“Clearly it is an area of focus. We are working with the schools closely to support them in that, and schools are notifying parents where there are cases.”

Council, police and health chiefs at Friday’s Local Outbreak Engagement Board were told outbreak teams are largely working with schools because there had been “very little in wider workplaces”, and explained that at schools with cases measures are being taken to reintroduce face masks and restrict visits or parents attending performances or sports games.

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Guidance from Government over the summer meant schools are no longer required to operate bubble systems, and schools have tailored their Covid-secure arrangements around a number of factors such as pupil numbers, classroom sizes and facilities.

Twice weekly testing of pupils and family members is being encouraged, as well as having regular hand sanitiser stations, promoting frequent hand washing and staggered break or lunch times.

Mr Keeble added: “If we see rates get any higher then we then have to work with Public Health England and the Department for Education to look at any restrictions to attendances.

“Its an ongoing situation, we are working very closely and will continue to do that.”

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