Parents and staff at some Croydon schools are becoming concerned that information about cases of coronavirus afflicting pupils and teachers is not being shared with the schools’ broader community. In some instances, it has been alleged that year group “bubbles” have not been instructed to isolate, even after there has been a positive test for covid-19 among their number.
The suspicion that a second wave of infections has been accelerated by the return to the classrooms of the nation’s schoolchildren last month was at least partially confirmed today by figures released by Public Health England.
They said that 36 per cent of covid-19 outbreaks are in education – which will also include university students who returned to their colleges two weeks ago. That makes education the largest single source of covid outbreaks.
PHE also reported that 21,949 10- to 19-year-olds had been infected by the virus in the last two weeks. This is the fastest-growing age category for infections.
They also revealed that over the last four weeks – the period since schools returned without the adequate testing and track and trace systems in place that had been promised by government for a safe return of pupils – there had been 1,136 multiple infection sites in schools.
Inside Croydon has received reports from staff associated with one large secondary school in the borough who say that the number of teachers who have either displayed symptoms of the virus or who have tested positive for covid-19 is now causing considerable strain on the school’s creaking budgets, as supply staff are having to be brought in to cover.
Virgo Fidelis girls’ convent school is currently under a “consultation” over its closure, following long-term financial management problems which have led to the buildings being ill-maintained and, in places, unsafe. They can ill-afford the added financial burden of hiring in supply staff.
It is understood that at least three teachers are absent from Virgo Fidelis with covid-19.
According to our source, “Parents have not been notified and no students sent home to isolate.”
And there’s growing concern among parents at the Quest Academy in Selsdon, where a sixth former has tested positive for the virus but the school has so far withheld any information about the situation.
Andy Crofts, the head teacher, was “not taking calls” this morning, and the school was unable to offer any explanation for its failure to keep parents updated with the situation.
The secondary schools might do well to follow the examples of some of the borough’s primaries for a lesson in how not to make a bad situation worse.
Selsdon Primary on Addington Road responded to a member of its school community testing positive for coronavirus by having a class self-isolate and by sending a letter to parents and guardians.
“We have been advised by Public Health England that there has been a confirmed case of Covid-19 within the school,” the letter stated.
“We know that you may find this concerning but we are continuing to monitor the situation and are working closely with Public Health England.”
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