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Haverhill school records no positive Covid cases from almost 500 people tested




A Haverhill school that has had to close three year groups after a number of pupils tested positive for Covid-19 has organised a mass testing programme on an unprecedented scale.

And the commitment shown by the staff and families towards taking part in the Covid testing schedule undertaken by Westfield Primary Academy has been praised by its head teacher.

Working alongside Suffolk County Council and Public Health England, the school arranged for staff, pupils and their families to be tested last Friday, Saturday and Sunday at the mobile unit at The Meadows car park in town.

The sign at the entrance to Westfield Primary Academy.
The sign at the entrance to Westfield Primary Academy.

Toni Kittle said: “I would like to thank all our staff and families for their support and for responding so quickly to getting a PCR test last weekend.

“It has been a difficult time for us all but I am proud of how close-knit our school community has been.

“We are also pleased that there have been no more positive cases after almost 500 tests.

A healthcare worker testing a patient for coronavirus during the pandemic.
A healthcare worker testing a patient for coronavirus during the pandemic.

“These figures include all our staff members who have been tested and all returned negative results.

“The pupils currently home schooling have once again showed admirable dedication to their studies alongside those currently in school.”

Elizabeth Knapper, Principal Health Protection Nurse Practitioner at Public Health England (East), said: “It’s very important that we all continue to follow hands, face, space and fresh air and get the vaccine when offered.”

A covid-19 mobile testing unit set up in The Meadows car park in Haverhill last year. Picture by Steve Barton
A covid-19 mobile testing unit set up in The Meadows car park in Haverhill last year. Picture by Steve Barton

Last Friday, Mrs Kittle confirmed that the school had seen 17 positive tests returned over the previous fortnight, resulting in 178 pupils – the whole of Years 3, 4 and 5 – and 12 staff members having to isolate for 10 days.

Prior to this, the school had not had any Covid cases since the pandemic began.

But the cases at the school mirrored a spike in positive Covid tests recorded recently in Haverhill.

As figures at coronavirus.data.gov.uk show, Haverhill went from having a maximum of seven cases in the three weeks up to April 30, to jumping to 18 and 31 over the next two weeks.

The vast majority of the cases (20 of the 31 recorded on May 7) were in the Haverhill east and south area, in which Westfield sits.

As of May 13, the overall figure for Haverhill was no more than 20.

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