Lee-on-the-Solent school defends actions following coronavirus scare

A SCHOOL has defended its reaction to a coronavirus scare as pupils were today called back to lessons.
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It came amid concerns one staff member’s son had contracted the illness following a school trip to Italy last month.

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The staff member went into self-isolation as tests were carried out on the youngster, who wasn’t a pupil at the Salisbury Terrace school, Lee-on-the-Solent.

Lee-on-the-Solent Junior School was at the centre of a coronavirus scare last week. Photo: GoogleLee-on-the-Solent Junior School was at the centre of a coronavirus scare last week. Photo: Google
Lee-on-the-Solent Junior School was at the centre of a coronavirus scare last week. Photo: Google

There has been no word yet whether the illness has been confirmed as coronavirus.

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But as a precaution the school gave parents of pupils with compromised immune or respiratory systems the ‘option’ to take their children out of lessons on Thursday and Friday.

In a letter sent out to parents today, interim headteacher Chris Toner defended the school’s reaction and said: ‘We have as a school followed the government’s guidance for educational settings, where there is no confirmed case of coronavirus and have kept the school open at all times.

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‘As a school we will continue to safeguard our pupils by keeping parents fully informed, whilst supporting our pupils in ensuring they follow good hand and respiratory hygiene.

‘I would like to thank you for your support around the school’s response to this issue to date.’

A spokeswoman from Lee-on-the-Solent Junior School said ‘no child was told they could not attend’ lessons amid the concern.

But it declined to confirm further on whether or not parents, still worried about a possible spread of the illness, still had the ‘option’ to keep their children away from lessons.

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However, a parent of one youngster, who claimed she was told by the school to collect her child on Thursday afternoon, confirmed she had been informed pupils should now return.

The school also declined to comment whether the staff member who left the site to go into self-isolation, was back on the site today.

The situation comes as the number of people to have died from coronavirus surpassed 3,000, with more than 88,000 people infected worldwide.

Prime minister Boris Johnson today chaired an emergency Cobra meeting with his top team over the deepening crisis.

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Education secretary Gavin Williamson has told parliament that schools ‘should stay open unless they’re advised otherwise by Public Health England’.

Speaking earlier during education questions in the commons, he said: ‘We as like all government departments are, right across the country, making sure that we have regular communications to all educational settings, making sure that they have a clear understanding of some of the challenges in dealing with the coronavirus.

‘We’re advising that schools should stay open unless they’re advised otherwise by Public Health England (PHE) and we’re planning for reasonable worst-case scenario, working closely with other departments and of course PHE.’