A pupil has tested positive for Covid-19 at Newsham Primary School.
The year 1 pupil received the results of their test on Sunday night.
Headteacher, Mrs Armstrong released the following statement on social media, at 8:30pm on Sunday night:
Thank-you so much for the patience while I've been working with Public Health this evening. In between calls, I've seen some of your comments online and can completely understand and appreciate the viewpoints of concern that some of you have expressed. I've also been motivated and encouraged by the really positive feedback and your faith in my determination to keep everyone safe.
I can tell you that the child who has tested positive for Covid-19 is in Year 1.
Public Health have stated that all Y1 pupils need to isolate for 14 days from Thursday, September 3rd, which is the last day that this child was in school. The isolation period will therefore expire on Thursday, September 17th.
Other family members of Y1 pupils and staff do not need to isolate for 14 days.
I will write to parents and carers tomorrow but wanted the families of the children concerned to have this information as soon as possible. Please share this information with Y1 parents and carers who may not see this post as it is almost 8.30pm on Sunday evening.
If you are the parent or carer of a child at Newsham with an underlying health condition or have someone in your immediate family classed as extremely clinically vulnerable, I can understand that you may be particularly worried this evening. This may be the case even if you do not have a child in Y1 but are still part of our school community. Please be reassured that we will be very understanding of your concerns and I'll have senior staff available tomorrow to talk individual circumstances through with anyone who feels the need for that personalised level of support.
It goes without saying that this situation is one I'd hope we'd never have to deal with at Newsham Primary School. We are one of the earlier cases in the country where Covid-19 has affected a pupil and I know you will join me in sending love and best wishes to the child and family concerned.
If you can keep all but absolutely essential questions until tomorrow, I'd really appreciate your support with that too as there are still a number of tasks I need to complete this evening in relation to this situation.
Many thanks and stay safe.
Support amongst parents was overwhelming, and on Tuesday morning, Mrs Armstrong released the following update:
Just a quick update from Newsham Primary to thank you all for your overwhelming support since the beginning of the pandemic and throughout lockdown, but particularly over the past 48 hours.
As I'm sure you are aware, Y1 pupils and staff at Newsham Primary School are currently isolating at home until Thursday 17th September. This is in line with the direct instructions from Public Health England that have been communicated in response to a confirmed case of Covid 19 in Y1.
As Headteacher, I am working extremely closely with Northumberland County Council, Public Health North East and the Department for Education. As part of my responsibility for the health and safety of our school community, I am monitoring our school's risk assessment and action plan on an ongoing basis and modifying systems, structures and operational arrangements where required.
In terms of modifications, one of our most recent actions has been to separate year group classes outside. This is something I was hoping to avoid as it involves a significant reduction in the outdoor space children have to move and play in. That said, it does mean that if there is another outbreak in a class, the class bubble would have to isolate for 14 days but this would not affect the entire year group.
The example above demonstrates that the decisions I'm currently having to make around the day to day running of the school are rarely perfect. They may resolve one issue whilst creating problems in another area of school provision. One of the difficulties is that health and safety in school is not solely confined to the issues surrounding Coronavirus and Covid 19. All the other ongoing safeguarding protections have to be maintained and I'm determined to ensure the health, safety and wellbeing of our school community remains my first priority in all areas of school life.
Thank you so much for your faith in the leadership at Newsham and for the appreciation of swift and decisive action in addition to communication shared quickly and clearly. I will always be open, honest and as supportive as possible and couldn't wish to work alongside a more skilled and experienced staff team or a more understanding and encouraging family of parents, carers and public leaders in the community of Blyth.
I know you will appreciate that I'm unable to ease any further restrictions in school while I lead us through this latest situation. It means that I'm currently unable to restart Breakfast or After School Club, allow bikes and scooters onto the school premises or reintroduce backpacks, packed lunch boxes or pencil cases. School visits and performances are unlikely to take place until next term at the earliest although, I will continue to monitor and review all these specific decisions as the situation develops.
Finally, we are here via email or telephone contact for anyone with questions or concerns. We pride ourselves on the level of dedicated and personalised support we offer everyone involved in the life of our school and that remains unchanged.
As I mentioned earlier, I'm hugely grateful to you all for the encouragement and positive feedback you have provided throughout this pandemic. If anyone is less than satisfied, please contact us directly and resist the urge to use social media for anything other than to celebrate all that is good in our school and wider community.
Many thanks as always.