Coronavirus: Children sent home and staff member in isolation as Hampshire school launches emergency action amid virus outbreak fear

CHILDREN have been sent home from school amid fears it may have been hit by coronavirus.

Friday, 28th February 2020, 6:16 pm
Updated Friday, 28th February 2020, 6:30 pm

Lee-on-the-Solent Junior School has taken emergency action, with staff ‘frantically cleaning’ the Salisbury Terrace site.

It comes after senior leaders warned one staff member’s son was being ‘tested for coronavirus after displaying symptoms’ of the deadly illness, which has killed almost 2,800 and infected more than 83,000.

The staff member left the education establishment yesterday to ‘self-isolate’ while their tests were carried out on their child.

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Lee-on-the-Solent Junior School has sent children home, with one staff member in isolation, amid coronavirus fears. Photo: Google

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In a joint statement to parents, the school’s interim headteacher and acting deputy headteacher, Chris Toner and Lucy Faulkner, said: ‘We have been told this morning that the son of a member of school staff is being tested for coronavirus after displaying symptoms at his school.

‘The school has taken the government health advice and the advice of the local authority and as a precaution, we have contacted the parents of children who we know have low immune systems and/or autoimmune deficiencies to give them a choice around collecting their children.’

One mother, who The News is not naming, claimed she was called by the school on Thursday and ordered to collect her child.

She said: ‘I was at work at the time and had two missed calls from the school. I called them and the lady at reception said to me “you need to collect your son” and that nothing was wrong and everything was fine.

‘I said if nothing is wrong with him, then why do I need to collect him? The headmistress then came on the phone and said it was a health issue.

‘She said one of the staff’s sons was on a skiing holiday to Italy last week and he was showing symptoms of coronavirus, so the teacher had been sent home for quarantine.’

She added the school had urged her not to bring her child back on Monday.

Another 45-year-old woman, whose nephew attends the school, claimed all pupils should have been ordered to leave, not just those with health conditions.

She added: ‘The staff are now frantically cleaning everything and getting the kids to wash their hands.

‘But it’s a bit late for that. The teacher has been at the school for three days already so the children could already have been exposed.’

Hampshire County Council, which oversees the school, tonight confirmed it was unaware of the situation.

Simon Bryant, director of public health at the authority, said schools had been asked to follow Public Health England’s advice.

He added: ‘Any school concerned about a student who may meet the criteria for taking action, after returning from travel to an affected area, including from certain parts of Italy, has been advised to contact their local Public Health England health protection team for advice.’

Lee-on-the-Solent Junior School was unavailable for comment.