Gosport school downplays fears of virus outbreak

A GOSPORT secondary school has insisted that there is nothing out of the ordinary, after reports that a number of staff members had been taken ill.

Tuesday, 29th January 2019, 5:14 pm
Updated Thursday, 7th February 2019, 7:42 pm
Bay House School, Gosport

According to a source close to Bay House School, a high number of staff members have gone off sick in the past week, putting the school under pressure to find suitable cover for lessons.

The source told The News that emails have been sent to staff advising them about the high levels of sickness among staff, and claims that there have been children vomiting on-site too.

One email said to staff: ‘Please be aware that we are experiencing extremely high levels of absence.

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‘Thank you for your understanding on this occasion.’

A source close to the school said: ‘We’ve had emails telling us about the high levels of sickness and we had an email asking us to be careful with hand washing and so on.

‘There were high levels of staff absence last week on Thursday but Monday was the worst day so far.’

But Bay House School says that the staff absences are not unnaturally high for this time of year.

Nigel Matthias from the school’s headship team says that no staff members have reported having the virus, and that a deep clean of the school has already taken place as a precaution.

He said: ‘Today we have got 12 members of staff off – three of those are long-term absences.

‘No staff member has reported having anything like a virus.

‘In terms of pupil absence, it is relatively high at the moment but that is seasonal, so there is nothing there that we wouldn’t expect to see.

‘After hearing about Redbridge School closing in Southampton we decided to take precautions – we wanted to make sure have no issues with a virus spreading through the school.’

Hampshire County Council’s executive member for education, Councillor Stephen Reid, said: ‘Safeguarding the children at Bay House School must be the top priority.

‘Somebody has to make a judgement as to whether there is enough staff available to teach the children, but also if the risk of contagion is too big to be tackled.’