1,200 students in Suffolk have tested positive for coronavirus in past fortnight as 22 schools and colleges fighting Covid-19 outbreak with 10 or more cases
Latest data has revealed that 22 Suffolk schools and colleges have 10 or more positive Covid-19 cases, as around 1,200 students have tested positive in the last fortnight.
Public Health Suffolk chiefs have said they are working closely with schools to monitor numbers and outbreaks, as latest figures indicated that more than 50 per cent of all new Covid-19 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.
“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 September 12 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.”
Friday’s Local Outbreak Engagement Board gathering of council, police and health chiefs heard that 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.
Guidance from the 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.”
The meeting also heard that lateral flow test rates dropped off during the summer holidays as pupils finished school, but as pupils returned in September the number of tests soared by 25 per cent, as pupils were required to take two supervised tests at the start of term.
That rate has now fallen by around 12 per cent, but the team said it was still in line with testing rates seen during the summer school term in June and July.