Thu, 10 Sept 2020
A small number of children at Kennet School have gone into self isolation after a pupil tested positive for coronavirus.
Twenty pupils at the Thatcham secondary school have gone into self isolation and are learning remotely as a precaution.
Kennet, with 1,850 pupils, remains open.
Families of the self isolating pupils are not required to self-isolate and the full guidance applies if they do develop symptoms.
In a Public Health England letter sent to parents executive headteacher Gemma Piper said: "Pupils who may have come into contact with the individual have been contacted by phone directly and will self isolate for 14 days as a precautionary measure.
"We remain fully open for all other pupils and our hygiene control measures will continue to be upheld in school.
"There is no requirement for further precautionary isolation to take place."
Mrs Piper said that every classroom was cleaned every day and the school had not been advised to change any of that routine in response to the positive test as Public Health had deemed its measures to be appropriate.
Kennet is not enforcing the wearing of face masks but has supported pupils and staff wishing to do so.
Pupils and staff with symptoms are advised not to attend school but to stay at home and book a test immediately.
Kennet said that with the confirmed case, this is the exact process that was followed and the entire family had self-isolated whilst waiting for test results.
It added that this routine would continue for all members of the school community and pupils were reminded of all regulations that have supported the individual, their year group and the school to enable lessons to continue for everyone else.
Mrs Piper said: "We commend our entire community for focusing on supporting each other and respecting the regulations to protect every individual here at school every day as well as those at home.
"The school have continued to work with Public Health England and will do so going forward as we all learn to live in this highly controlled environment and as a sense of normality returns.
"It is essential nobody takes these measures for granted and we, as a school, will continue to ensure they are high profile throughout the school day.”
Ahead of pupils returning to school Kennet had installed hand sanitiser stations, double-sided to prevent bottlenecks forming, outside every building and pupils have been advised to bring their own hand sanitiser.
Some toilet blocks have been renovated to “remove difficult spaces”, such as taking down walls and opening spaces up.
Bubbles have been formed by year groups, with each group made up of roughly 200 pupils but are split in half.
Allocated spaces at breaks and lunchtimes have been arranged. Dedicated times to access service points like the canteen have been put in place.
Every member of staff has a Covid backpack with items to manage their own safety and people in their classroom.
Mrs Piper told the NWN that this allowed “their movement around the site to be a little bit simpler, they are never going to be without the items they require.”
A one way system is in place and everything related to Covid is in orange to make sure it’s of “paramount importance”.
Mrs Piper said: "We are not forcing face coverings but if it is a barrier to a pupil coming back, I want them in the classroom over not wearing a face covering, so we have said categorically if a pupil or a member of staff would like to wear a face covering then they are absolutely allowed to do so.”
Kennet does not qualify for stipulated wearing of face masks but Mrs Piper said the measures in place were “above and beyond” what was required.
“We are confident that we have done everything that we need to on the ground, and if transmission rates do increase locally and we become a Tier 1 school then we will stipulate face coverings in due course,” Mrs Piper said.
When asked about pupil absence if parents did not feel comfortable about their children returning she said: "Right now unless we get an update today the reality is we are living day to day here and at present the guidance states that a full return to school is the intention for all pupils.