Coronavirus – First test results return for staff on course attended by infected Willow Bank staff member

Aldryngton Primary School
Aldryngton Primary School in Silverdale Road, Earley

THE FIRST test results have come back for those who came into contact with a Woodley primary school staff member who caught the coronavirus while on holiday.

The affected staff member of Willow Bank Infants School had been in Italy during half-term.

She had attended a training course at Aldryngton Primary School in Earley on Tuesday, February 25, before self-isolating the following day.

The news broke on Saturday, February 29, and the two schools, plus Willow Bank Junior School were closed for deep cleaning and, in Willow Bank Infants’ case, to allow staff members and pupils to self-isolate.

Public Health England launched a tracing operation to contact everyone that the infected staff member had met, including those who attended the course. Those deemed at risk were tested for the virus. Some of these results have come back and none were found to have the coronavirus

A statement from Wokingham Borough Council said: “The results for those who required testing for coronavirus as a result of their contact with the case are now returning and, to date, all have been negative”.

Cllr Charles Margetts, executive member for adult social care and public health at Wokingham Borough Council, told BBC Radio Berkshire’s breakfast DJ: “Advice from Public Health England is that unless there is a direct reason to close schools should not close. However, we understand that governors, headteachers and parents especially will also be very worried about this.

“Often these decisions are about taking steps to absolutely have a belt and braces approach to everything, and to reassure the public.”

He added: “Willow Bank Infants will reopen when we have sufficient staff out of self-isolation, we think that is to be next Wednesday. We will confirm as soon as we can to people.”

And he confirmed that the deep clean at each of the three schools were complete.

“We’ve had the first batch of results back from people who were on the training day and they have all come back as negative. This is obviously very good news for those involved and a burden off their shoulders. It also means we can say with 100% confidence there is no risk of coronavirus to parents and staff at Aldryngton and Hillside.”

Cllr Margetts said that he had met with parents who had taken their children out of school.

Speaking to them on BBC Radio Berkshire, he said: “I understand your concern and why you are worried, but Public Health England advice shows there is no risk to your children from returning back to school.

“I encourage you to get your children back to school, and get to live life as normal.”

Aldryngton Primary School has reopened, Willow Bank Junior School will reopen tomorrow and the Infants School is expected to reopen on Wednesday, March 11.

Three staff members from Bulmershe School in Woodley are known to be self-isolating as a precaution, and in Bracknell, Great Hollands Primary School is closed until Friday, March 6, to allow for a deep clean to take place.

A letter from school headteacher Richard Ferris said: “There is a member of our school community who is showing symptoms potentially associated to the virus. At this time, we strongly believe that there is no increased risk to staff and pupils at our school, and I can confirm no direct contact between that staff member and our school.”

He added: “For assurance, the school’s usual cleaning routines will have greatly reduced the risks of the virus being spread.”


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