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Bury St Edmunds primary school staff and pupils speak of challenges as 1 in 8 self-isolate while waiting for coronavirus tests




Staff and pupils at a primary school in Bury St Edmundshave spoken of the challenges they have experienced since returning to the classroom earlier this month, including waiting for coronavirus tests.

Officials at St Edmund's Catholic Primary School said with one in eight pupils having to self-isolate already and the state of the Government's current testing system means that education 'may not be sustainable'.

Tawny, a year 6 pupil who had to eat lunch on her own as the other five pupils who would have spent it with her were not in school, described the situation as 'very lonely'.

A total of 52 pupils are stuck at home, with many waiting a week for a coronavirus test – although, so far, no one at the school has tested positive.

BBC Look East reported: "Less than two weeks into the new term, one in eight are already having to self-isolate. The teachers here say their education may not be sustainable."

Executive headteacher Maria Kemble said a quick and efficient testing regime should have been in place by now.

St Edmund's Catholic Primary's executive headteacher Maria Kemble. Picture Mark Westley
St Edmund's Catholic Primary's executive headteacher Maria Kemble. Picture Mark Westley

She said: "I think they have sold everybody short, it is not just us as schools, it is the wider community because as our families are having to isolate you've then got parents who cannot go to work.

"Many of our parents work in the NHS or the care sector."

St Edmund's Catholic Primary School in Bury St Edmunds. Picture by Mark Westley
St Edmund's Catholic Primary School in Bury St Edmunds. Picture by Mark Westley

Teaching assistant Helen has had to step up to teach classes at short notice while other members of staff wait for Covid-19 test results at home.

She said: "I might not even know that until I walk in the building at 8am in the morning.

"So it is completely off the hoof, they might say Mrs so and so is off sick, in you go and it could be anything from reception right the way through to year 6."

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