Another Northamptonshire school is partially closed by impact of Covid-19

Staff and students self-isolating forces Wollaston to keep students at home

Tuesday, 24th November 2020, 1:46 pm

Another Northamptonshire school has been forced to partially close by rising numbers of staff and students having to to self-isolate.

In a letter to parents, Wollaston School headteacher James Birkett revealed one staff member tested positive for coronavirus over the weekend and admitted the decision to shutdown different learning bubbles for a week had been made with a 'heavy heart'.

Rolling closures will see pupils in Years 7, 8, 9, and 10 learning at home on different days allowing those preparing to sit GCSE and A level mocks to attend school.

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Partial school closures started today (Tuesday) and are scheduled to finish next week on Tuesday, December 1.

Wollaston School joins other schools with full or partial closures this week including Moulton School near Northampton, Bishop Stopford in Kettering, Wellingborough's Rowan Gate Primary and Kettering Buccleuch Academy.

Mr Birkett said: "You are likely to be aware that we have seen increasing rates of students and staff requiring to self isolate following positive test results both within households and from contact within school.

"We have been made aware that a member of staff has tested positive for Covid-19 over the weekend.

Wollaston School will have some students learning at home for the next week

"This has also led to the need for others to self-isolate. We have sent best wishes to the member of staff affected, and you will be pleased to learn that they are not currently experiencing significant symptoms.

"Unfortunately, this means that our operational capacity is significantly reduced.

"We therefore have no alternative but to close certain bubbles on a scheduled programme over the next six school days."

It is understood that the decision was made after consulting with the school's health protection team and Northamptonshire County Council.

Students in closed bubbles will receive their normal timetable of lessons via Zoom with most being fully interactive lessons, taught by their usual teacher (who may be teaching from home in self-isolation).

Mr Birkett added: "I realise the inconvenience here and sincerely apologise for the need to take this decision – however these circumstances are beyond our control and I must ensure that as a school we are able to operate safely and effectively.

"We do not have a huge amount of flexibility here as the primary rationale is based on minimising the number of lessons which would be affected by self-isolations.

"However, we also need to ensure that Year 11 and the Sixth Form are able to complete their mock examinations and I am also aware that these year groups have faced the most disruption from self-isolations to date.

"Please do be assured that we have not taken this decision lightly and have battled in difficult circumstances to keep the school fully open for as long as possible.

"We appreciate all of your support, and I am sorry again to have to make this decision.

"This was made with a heavy heart, but it is the correct course of action in the current circumstances to preserve the safe and effective running of our school."