School in Derby shuts after seven staff members test positive for coronavirus

1 June 2020, 20:08

Arboretum Primary School has been shut for a further week due to a coronavirus outbreak
Arboretum Primary School has been shut for a further week due to a coronavirus outbreak. Picture: Google
Nick Hardinges

By Nick Hardinges

A school in Derby has been temporarily shut after seven of its staff members tested positive for coronavirus.

The closure of Arboretum Primary School comes as primary schools across the country welcomed pupils back to the classroom for the first time in more than two months due to the coronavirus pandemic.

A spokesman for the Derby Diocesan Academy Trust confirmed that more than half-a-dozen staff members had caught the virus but were only displaying mild symptoms.

They are all said to be "recovering well at home".

Four other members of staff have tested negative for Covid-19, while no parents, carers or pupils have been reported to be displaying symptoms.

The school will be closed to all pupils for the rest of the week and will reopen next Monday - initially to children of key workers and to vulnerable children - following a deep clean.

Read more: Mums discuss why they did - or did not - send their kids back to school

The Derby Diocesan Academy Trust spokesman told Derbyshire Live: "Following one member of staff reporting symptoms, the school quickly identified any other members of staff, parents/carers and/or children who may have been in contact and instructed them to isolate for the government’s recommended period of 14 days.

“Since then, six members of staff have tested positive and four members of staff who were in contact have tested negative. There have been no reports of parents/carers or children displaying symptoms.

"The Trust is pleased to confirm that all members of staff affected have experienced only mild symptoms and are recovering well at home.

“In line with guidance, the school has closed this week to allow a deep-clean to be completed and will re-open next week, initially to children of key workers and vulnerable children.”

It is understood the school has been open to the children of key workers and to vulnerable children from other schools, including Derby Cathedral School, since lockdown began on 23 March.

Schools across the UK welcomed some pupils back today for the first time in two months
Schools across the UK welcomed some pupils back today for the first time in two months. Picture: PA

A Derby City Council spokesman added: "The school will re-open on Monday, 8 June and all of those adults who may have been in contact with the affected staff have been informed.”

One local resident said: "I thought there was something wrong because this morning there were no cars in the car park and the school was shut.

"Recently, I have seen children going there and so it was odd that it was shut this week when schools are supposed to be reopening."

The city council said that 68 out of its 74 schools reopened to more pupils on Monday and it expects the other six to do so next week.

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Last week, Cavendish Close Infant School, also in Derby, said that a staff member tested positive for coronavirus, forcing it to put back its reopening date to 10 June.

Two coronavirus cases were also confirmed at the city's Springfield Primary School last month, resulting in it closing for vulnerable pupils and the children of key workers.

Primary schools in England were the first to resume classes for Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 pupils after Boris Johnson announced last week it would be safe to start a staggered reopening.

Some nurseries also began taking in children.

But this is an opinion that has split the nation's parents in two, with around 46 per cent of families expected to keep their children at home, according to a study by the National Foundation for Educational Research.

Sacha Myers, from Brentwood in Essex, said she had decided to keep her five-year-old son Jack at home as she was thinking about the effect social distancing could have on the pupils.

"I was more concerned about the social side of things," Ms Myers told LBC News, adding that she hadn't been too worried about Covid-19 as there were no direct vulnerable contacts in her household.

"He's going to be going back to school - he can see his friends but he can't play with them [...] For me, personally, I felt like I would be sending him to school to stand and play by himself in the playground when he could be happy at home."

For Rebecca Wales, whose son Conrad is in Year 6 and is a little older than Jack, there was a more positive feeling about sending him back.

Speaking to LBC News outside Bridgetown Primary School as she dropped him off, she said: "We're feeling quite good about things generally.

"It's like the first day back at school again; it's a slight apprehension for me, mainly. I think he's absolutely fine. He's gone in; he didn't even say goodbye, so that's a good sign."