An Exeter secondary school has had to ask all of its Year 11 pupils to self-isolate from today (November 13) after another student in the year group tested positive for coronavirus.
Following guidelines, the school made the decision to asked 50 Year 11 students to self-isolate, along with 42 students who used the same bus service.
It added that if a child had used the 971 bus between Wednesday November 4, and Friday, November 6, they would also need to self-isolate.
Today, the school told parents it had been made aware of a second student in Year 11 testing positive.
In the latest letter to parents, head teacher Phil Randall said: “As always we have worked with Public Health England and following their guidelines we are unfortunately having to ask the rest of our Year 11 students to self-isolate.
“Following our conversations today with Public Health England, they confirmed that ‘Covid-19 is circulating highly in the community on November 13, and the likelihood of pupils having coronavirus infection is high’.
“I am very aware that students have already missed a lot of time in school and that it is important to find the balance between identifying everyone who may be at a genuine risk of developing infection whilst not asking students and staff to self-isolate unnecessarily.
“We want to have as many students in school as possible but the positive cases mean that in line with Public Health England guidelines we are needing to ask these Year 11 students to self-isolate.
“We feel confident in our approaches following a telephone call earlier in the term with the Health and Safety Executive where they commented that ‘you have elaborated very well on all of your answers’ and this gives us confidence that if we continue to follow, monitor and review our stringent processes we are keeping everyone as safe as possible.
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“Nevertheless, it is very frustrating to be in this position of sending students home to self-isolate having worked so hard this term and throughout the summer holiday to put a strong risk assessment in place that students and staff continue to follow.
“We are all experiencing extremely challenging times and have at the heart of all of our decisions the safety, wellbeing and education of our students.
“We find many of the rules we need to abide by frustrating but we continue to work with Public Health England, the Department for Education and Devon County Council with integrity to make the best decisions possible.
“We do also represent any concerns regarding guidance with such agencies so that we work together to get the best deal we can for students. We are continuing to monitor the situation and are working closely with Public Health England.”
He added: “The children who have been in direct prolonged contact with the confirmed cases will have received an individual letter and will be staying at home for 14 days.
“The school remains open and, providing your child remains well, they can continue to attend school as normal. We will keep this under review.”
Last month, the school had to ask all Year 9 pupils to self-isolate after a pupil tested positive for coronavirus.
All pupils of any year group who used the 976 bus were also told to stay at home.
The following week, a letter was issued on October 14 stating a Year 11 pupil had tested positive for Covid-19.