Arden Academy, Solihull closes for two weeks, following cases of Covid-19 in pupils across year groups and in members of staff.
Arden Academy in Solihull is to close for a fortnight following confirmed cases of Covid-19 in pupils in different year groups and in a staff member. Further pupils and staff identified as close contacts of the confirmed cases have been notified and instructed to self-isolate. The school plans to reopen on Wednesday 7th October 2020.
Specialists from Public Health England (PHE) West Midlands and Solihull Council are providing expert advice and support to Arden Academy. Measures taken by the school have included:
- Rigorous risk assessment
- Increased cleaning capacity
- Robust hand and respiratory hygiene control measures
- Staggered starts to the beginning and end of the school day and at break and lunch time
- Amended timetabling to reduce pupil movement around the building
- Purchase of additional covered outdoor space
- Investment in additional serveries to spread students at break and lunch times
- Investment in temporary toilets to add additional capacity
- Use of one way systems
- Use of face coverings
Mamoona Tahir, Consultant in Communicable Disease Control at PHE Midlands said:
“We are working closely with Arden Academy to provide public health advice to help prevent the spread of the virus. With the help of the school we have identified staff and children who were close contacts of the confirmed cases and they must now self-isolate for 14 days from last exposure to avoid unknowingly spreading the virus.
“The school management have taken all the measures they could to protect children and staff from catching the virus. They have implemented government guidance to the letter, undertaking careful assessments and reviewing the control measures in place when they were notified of new cases of coronavirus.
“It is the joint decision to close the site and ask children to access their learning remotely, the reasons are two-fold. There is a need to try to break the chain of Covid-19 infection in the school community, which if left unchecked would result in more infected individuals, a protracted outbreak and a longer period of closure. Also, having assessed available staffing levels, there is concern regarding having sufficient resources to implement current guidelines and safely support pupil learning and wellbeing.
“To prevent further cases of coronavirus in the future, it is vital that any pupils and staff members with symptoms, stay at home, self-isolate and book a test. The symptoms of coronavirus are new continuous cough, a high temperature or a loss or change to sense of taste or smell. Please do not book a test if you or our child do not have symptoms. A runny nose or sneezing are symptoms of a cold and NOT coronavirus”
Arden Multi Academy Trust CEO said: “This has been a difficult decision to make and we realise the upset and inconvenience this will cause. However, the health and wellbeing of our pupils and staff and wider community are our priority. Our hope is that by closing the school now, we can press the reset button and start back in two weeks’ time infection free. I can assure you that we will continue to be guided by Public Health and will do everything possible to avoid a school closure in the future. We look forward to seeing all our pupils again on 7th October and in the meantime we have no doubt that our students will continue to work hard and engage in their learning remotely.