A second pupil tests positive for Covid-19 at Stoke-on-Trent school



More coronavirus cases have been confirmed at one of the city’s largest high schools.

The latest Discovery Academy pupil to test positive is in Year 11 – the same year group as another infected teenager.

But it is understood that the Bentilee school is not treating the two cases as being linked. At least one other confirmed case relates to a member of staff who is now self-isolating.

It is not clear how many members of the school community have now tested positive.

In a letter to parents, principal Rob Kelsall said: “Unfortunately, we have had further positive cases of Covid-19 today.”

Senior leaders have been working with Public Health England to decide on the next steps. But a decision has been taken to only ask the two infected students and their ‘close contacts’ to remain at home.

It means the rest of the year group – which was initially kept at home on Monday following the first pupil case – will be expected to carry on attending school.

In a statement to StokeonTrentLive, Mr Kelsall said: “A second Year 11 pupil has tested positive at the Discovery Academy and, following lengthy discussions with Public Health England, they have advised that the correct procedure continues to be to isolate those who have been in close contact with the individual.

“I totally understand the distress and uncertainty this can bring and want to reassure parents, carers, students and staff that anyone who has been in close contact with someone they will be informed immediately and asked to self-isolate. “

The school said it was ‘continually monitoring the situation in order to provide vital education’. All students who are self-isolating are being set work via Microsoft Teams.

Families were so concerned earlier this week that hundreds of pupils missed school on Monday. But the academy said attendance has now improved.

PHE West Midlands today moved to reassure families that all appropriate steps were being taken by the school.

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Dr Musarrat Afza, a consultant in communicable disease control, said: “We are working closely with the academy trust and Stoke-on-Trent City Council to provide public health advice aimed at helping stop the spread of the virus.

“A thorough risk assessment has taken place at Discovery Academy by Public Health England and the local authority environmental health officers, and we are confident that the academy trust has followed the appropriate public health measures in line with national guidance to ensure it is safe for pupils and staff to attend.

“Any staff and children who are identified as close contacts of the confirmed cases have and are being contacted and instructed to self-isolate for 14 days.”

Measures put in place have included cleaning the premises thoroughly, especially touch points like door handles, communal areas like toilets and dining hall.

City council leader Abi Brown said: “The Alpha Academies Trust have been following precise advice from Public Health England and, as the Discovery Academy was one of the first schools to receive notification of a positive test result, they have broken the ground on how we deal with these situations that our schools face.

“We are confident through conversations with PHE that they have put the correct procedures in place.”





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