Appeal for parents and pupils to keep testing as Wigan school has coronavirus outbreak

A headteacher has urged parents and pupils to keep testing for coronavirus after an outbreak at her school.

By Gaynor Clarke
Wednesday, 16th March 2022, 12:13 pm
Updated Wednesday, 16th March 2022, 3:38 pm

In a letter to parents, Anna Prior said 19 pupils from Woodfield Primary School in Swinley and seven members of staff – including herself – had tested positive for Covid-19.

It comes just weeks after Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the removal of most coronavirus restrictions and days after Wigan’s public health chief Prof Kate Ardern warned cases were on the rise.

Miss Prior wrote: “Whilst we have continued with many of our measures in school, it appears that the removing of wider restrictions coupled with the increased transmissibility of this variant is now making it increasingly difficult to manage infection and transmission.

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Woodfield Primary School has seen a surge in coronavirus cases among pupils and staff

"We have been in contact with the local health protection team and they are happy with the measures (and additional temporary measures) we have in place. We will continue to work with them to ensure the best balance possible between restrictions and ensuring a positive educational experience for all children.”

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She explained that the biggest issue at the Wigan Lane school was staffing and asked parents to “bear with us” as they operated at a reduced capacity.

She said: “The staff team continue to be absolutely wonderful, rising to every ask of them, and many staff are working over and above their usual hours, covering for absent colleagues. I know you appreciate them as much as I do.”

Miss Prior asked parents and their children to test regularly for coronavirus in the weeks running up to Easter and to be vigilant for any signs of becoming unwell.

She said: “We are finding that many positive cases are presenting with general cold symptoms – headaches, runny nose, aches, sore throat – and not necessarily the three main symptoms. Please test at any sign of illness and keep your children home.

"If children present with any of the three main signs (high temperature, cough, loss of taste and smell), please don’t rely on an LFT test. PCR tests are still easily and freely available at Chapel Lane testing site in Wigan and should be accessed for anyone with any of the three main symptoms.”

Meanwhile, Covid-19 mortality rates among people who have received only two doses of vaccine are higher for those who had their second jab more than six months ago than those double-jabbed more recently, indicating a likely waning of protection from vaccination over time, new analysis shows.

Death rates involving coronavirus for people in England who had their second dose at least half a year ago stood at 789.6 per 100,000 in January 2022, compared with 497.0 per 100,000 for those who had the jab between 21 days and six months ago.

The gap has widened in recent months, with the figures standing at just 15.7 and 22.6 respectively in July 2021, but 139.3 and 62.5 by October.

The analysis has been published by the Office for National Statistics and also shows that monthly mortality rates for deaths involving Covid-19 have been “consistently lower” since autumn 2021 for people who had received a third dose or booster at least 21 days ago, compared with unvaccinated people and those with a first or second dose.

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