School shuts 20 minutes before opening time after staff Covid case

Hillcrest Primary School in Downham Market preparing for school closure. Picture: Ian Burt

Hillcrest Primary School in Downham Market preparing for school closure. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Archant

A Norfolk primary school shut 20 minutes before it was due to open after a member of staff tested positive for Covid.

Hillcrest Primary School in Downham Market made the decision to close the school to all staff and pupils on Friday, January 15 after the staff member informed them they had the virus.

Headteacher Matthew Try said: "We received information around 20 minutes before school was due to open.

"In order to ensure that we gave ourselves adequate time to identify all those pupils and staff who may have come into contact with her when she was last in school on Tuesday January 12, we closed the school to all key workers."

Key workers and vulnerable children have been contacted over whether pupils need to self-isolate for 10 days.

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The school will reopen on Monday to these children apart from the 15 who came into contact with the teacher, with those children not able to return until Monday, January 25.

Mr Try said: "We have also lost the availability of six members of staff who were all considered to have come into contact with the staff member testing positive throughout the course of the day for long enough to be concerned. They are also now self-isolating.     

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"Although one confirmed case, the knock-on is significant for the parents of those who now have to self-isolate and is significant for the school who now has to continue providing key worker provision with less staff members available.

"It is vitally important that key workers only send their children into Hillcrest next week if it absolutely necessary.

"The numbers at school are much higher than they were during the previous lockdown despite the situation locally regarding the number of cases being far more serious."

He added: "With a reduced staff and concerns about our most recent case at the forefront of our thoughts, we would encourage parents not to send their children in if there is a responsible adult at home or if you are able to juggle demands from your workplace so that you can be at home more often."

He said all children had access to Google Classrooms and were being provided with around four hours of remote learning each day.

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