Cottenham Primary School enforces emergency closure amid rising Covid-19 cases and staff shortages
Cottenham Primary School has closed today (Tuesday November 10) amid “rising numbers of Covid-19 cases” and staff shortages.
Headteacher James Kilsby said he was “devastated” by the emergency closure, which is scheduled to last at least a week.
A number of staff are having to self-isolate after contact tracing suggested there were exposed to Covid-19, meaning children could not be cared for safely at the primary.
The school, which has 543 pupils, is planning a phased return for at least some year group or class bubbles from Tuesday November 17.
In the meantime, children are being offered home learning options.
Parents and carers were told this morning of the emergency closure.
The county council said support is being provided to those who need it. Laptops are available for those who require them and there is help available for those with access to free school meals.
Headteacher James Kilsby said: “I am devastated by the decision to have to deny face to face education for our wonderful children, but the havoc that this virus has wrecked - despite our best efforts - leaves me with no choice other than to temporarily close the school.
“We are working hard with the school to make sure pupils are supported throughout the period of closure.”
In his letter to parents, Mr Kilsby said the decision was taken with an “incredible sense of disappointment and regret” and followed “the rising numbers of positive cases of coronavirus in the school and the number of staff having to self-isolate due to contact tracing”.
He added: “We haven’t taken this decision lightly, and in doing so we are following government protocol and have been in full consultation with colleagues from the local authority and public health.
“All parties are in complete agreement that this is the only course of action left open to us to ensure the safety of pupils, families and staff. The period of closure will hopefully break the patterns of infection that would appear to be present across our school.
We will be making the switch to off-site learning for all children today, although I would request your patience on this, as no teaching staff will be on site for the next 24 hour to allow for enhanced cleaning procedures to be carried out.”
And he told parents: “I realise the impact of this decision on you and your families and I apologise for the disruption that this will cause. I hope, however, that you understand why it has been necessary to take this step.”
Jon Lewis, Cambridgeshire and Peterborough’s director of education, said: “We will work with the leadership of the school in planning the reopening of the school when it is safe to do so. We are disappointed to have to take this course of action but it is a decision made with the safety of pupils, staff and the wider community in mind.”
It comes after a confirmed Covid-19 case was confirmed at Monkfield Park Primary School in Great Cambourne yesterday (Monday November 9). Cambourne Village College has also asked Year 10 to work from home after confirming a positive case on Saturday (November 7).