We today made the decision to close school for the rest of the week, with the school reopening on Monday 17th January. This was not a decision that was taken lightly. We have had an unprecedented number of positive covid cases. In total since the return after Christmas we have had 21 staff who have tested positive. On top of this we have had 14 students with confirmed positive cases but many more who have had to go home displaying symptoms.
These cases have continued to grow and this morning we would have been at a point where possibly seven classes would have needed to close. Our children do not have the ability to socially distance, a lot of them will not wear masks, they are transported in on mixed transport with groups from across school. I feel the situation would have only got worse and in doing so put some of our learners at real risk.
Within school, we have a number of children who during the first wave of the pandemic were classed as clinically extremely vulnerable and were unable to attend school. Despite evidence pointing to the Omicron variant being less severe there is not sufficient data to determine the impact of this variant on students who are extremely vulnerable.
I did not take the decision to close the school lightly, however the safety of our students will always be our paramount concern. I appreciate the difficulty this decision will have on some families and I do apologise for the inconvenience caused. However, by shutting the school for three days and reopening on Monday it should allow us to have the majority of staff return, asymptomatic cases will have disappeared and this should hopefully allow us to open the whole school on Monday. This will be dependent on staffing levels over the weekend.
I also apologise that parents were informed of the school closure at the last minute. However, we only hear of staff illness and positive covid cases on the morning and we are then in a position where we then need to be reactive to this. Unfortunately, due to the high number of cases we do not have any surplus staff so if staff report an absence it has a direct impact on whether classes are safe to open.
Headteacher Kirkleatham Hall School