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Haverhill school to stay closed tomorrow after Covid-19 cases confirmed among staff members

Samuel Ward Academy in Haverhill is to remain closed tomorrow after eight members of staff tested positive for Covid-19.

The school in Chalkstone Way was closed to students today to allow for a deep clean to be carried out and for a thorough review to be made of all contacts that may have taken place between the eight infected members of staff and pupils, other staff and the wider school community

In a statement just issued, headteacher Andy Hunter said: "With careful consideration, we have decided that Samuel Ward Academy will remain closed to students tomorrow, Tuesday 8th September.

The entrance to Samuel Ward Academy
The entrance to Samuel Ward Academy

"Remote learning was in place for the children today and will again be tomorrow.

"I share the disappointment of parents and children with this disruption to the start of the school year, but everyone’s safety is our priority.

"We have not had any news about any cases amongst children in either the classes that are self-isolating or more widely.

Samuel Ward Academy headteacher Andy Hunter
Samuel Ward Academy headteacher Andy Hunter

"Following successful contact tracing and a deep clean of the school today, Public Health England confirmed the school could re-open when it is ready to do so.

"My team and I made the decision that the school should remain closed tomorrow (Tuesday) as we have a number of staff who are awaiting a test result.

"We want to keep them away from the school until the results of the tests are known.

"We expect the school to be open for some year groups on Wednesday 9th September and will confirm this with parents by 5pm tomorrow (Tuesday) after a further meeting of the Incident Management Team.

"We continue to have excellent external support, meeting today and agreeing this plan with the Incident Management Team, established with Public Health England, Suffolk County Council, Unity Schools Partnership and the Department for Education."

The school first became aware that a member of staff had Covid-19 symptoms last Wednesday during a school training day, when there were no children on site.

The staff member went home early from school and did a test on Thursday, which came back as a positive result on Friday.

The remaining staff in that department were asked to go home early on Friday and get tested.

Four others came back positive on Sunday and another three on Monday, taking the total to eight.

The school currently has 16 staff members that are self-isolating. None of them has tested positive for Covid-19.

It has also asked 79 children in Year 7 and 36 children in Year 10 to self-isolate as a precaution.

Andy Hunter, headteacher of Samuel Ward Academy, said: “The safety of our staff, students and their families is paramount.

"We had worked hard to put in place all the measures suggested by Government guidance in preparation for the new school year.

"We are all disappointed by these incidents and the understandable but regrettable decision to close the school temporarily."