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Precautionary COVID-19 measures taken at St Augustine's Catholic College

We've worked with PHE and the school

Published 7 September 2020

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St Augustine's Catholic College in Trowbridge is taking precautionary measures after one of the pupils at the school tested positive for COVID-19.

The pupil is in Year 9, and while all precautionary and proper bubble measures have been followed, the school has agreed to take additional precautions with advice from public health professionals and ask all Year 9 groups, a total of 160 pupils, to self-isolate for 14 days. This isolation is effective from Saturday 5 September.

The pupil is one of five positive cases associated with the school. The other four are a mixture of non-teaching and teaching staff who had limited contact with students and teachers and are currently self-isolating. As one of the five cases is a Year 9 student, as a precaution the decision was made to isolate the whole year.

The school has been working closely with PHE and Wiltshire Council to ensure high standards of hygiene and social distancing are maintained and ensuring all the necessary measures are in place. The Year 9 self-isolation is very precautionary to minimise any risks.

Headteacher David Forster said: "We have written to the parents and carers of our Year 9 students asking the pupils to self-isolate for 14 days. This is after one of our pupils in the year group has tested positive for COVID-19. The pupil was driven to school so this does not affect our school or public transport.

"I would like to reassure our parents we have been working closely with PHE and Wiltshire Council to ensure this is managed appropriately and the school is ready to reopen tomorrow. Close contacts identified are now self-isolating for 14 days in line with government guidance. Those who are being asked to self-isolate will continue to carry out home learning so they can continue their studies.

"We are looking forward to welcoming all other pupils back on Tuesday into school. Meanwhile, we continue to work closely with PHE to ensure high standards of hygiene and social distancing are maintained. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all our pupils for adapting to the new strict procedures we have in place so effectively and for being a credit to the school."

Kate Blackburn, Director of Public Health for Wiltshire, said:

"Public Health England and the school have completed a risk assessment, and we are taking a very precautionary approach to ensure we minimise the risk of any transmission in the school. The school has been working closely with PHE and ourselves and this is being managed appropriately. We will support the school as they provide home learning to the pupils asked to self-isolate and we will continue to provide advice and guidance to ensure high standards of hygiene and social distancing are maintained. A comprehensive cleaning regime was already in place at the school and this is being robustly continued during the teacher training day before the children attend school again.

"It is important those asked to self-isolate do adhere to the government guidance; if they don't have symptoms they do not need to get a test. However if a member of their household has symptoms and takes a test then they should self-isolate.

"I would like to remind all our schools and the wider community that the best way to prevent the spread of the virus is to regularly wash your hands, maintain social distancing and to continue to stay at home as much as possible.

"If you do start to develop coronavirus symptoms, such as a new continuous cough, a high temperature or a loss or change to your sense of taste or smell, please self-isolate and book a test.

"We would like to reassure people living and working in Wiltshire that while we do expect to see more cases in the weeks and months ahead, we have robust mechanisms in place to contain the infection and protect the health of the local community."

Mike Wade, Deputy Director for Health Protection at Public Health England South West, said:

"PHE South West is working closely with the school to provide public health advice to stop the virus spreading.

"Everyone should be following social distancing advice to prevent the spread of the virus in schools.

"Good hygiene is the best prevention and there are some simple steps you can take to protect you, your family and colleagues by washing your hands regularly and thoroughly and if you cough, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue."

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Published 7 September 2020