Disruption at Birkenhead School following COVID-19 outbreak

  Posted: 13.10.21 at 14:09 by George Morgan, Local Democracy Reporter

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The Local Democracy Reporting Service understands that children in Years 7-11 at The Birkenhead School on Beresford Road in Oxton are being given the choice of attending the school in-person or remotely after a number of staff members and pupils tested positive for coronavirus.

Sixth Form pupils are required to attend the independent school as normal.

It is understood that a significant number of secondary school pupils have chosen not to go in today after the COVID-19 outbreak.

Paul Vicars, The Birkenhead School’s Headmaster, said: “The School is open, as it has been throughout the last 18 months, and Prep and Sixth Form delivery remains unaffected.

“Over the last 10 days we have experienced an increased number of positive COVID cases across Years 7-11 in particular, and with staff.

“We have been in regular correspondence with Public Health England who have been very happy with our systems of control and the added precautionary measures that we have put in place.”

Detailing the steps taken to manage the outbreak, Mr Vicars added: “With the numbers of students absent, and in order to provide the strongest and most consistent learning outcomes for Years 7-11 over the next 3 days only prior to heading into the half-term break, and in order to best support the welfare of our staff and the wider school community, we decided to move to a remote provision for these year groups.

“Years 7-11 can follow this 3-day remote provision, delivered via our Virtual Learning Environment and through interactive means via Zoom, well honed over the last 18 months, either supervised on site, or at home.

“This action, allied to the two-week half-term break [the school’s regular length for this break] starting at close of play on Friday, should assist in breaking the transmission of the virus.”

On the plan for the school going forward, Mr Vicars added: “The vaccination programme of students aged 12-15 continues unaffected, with high numbers of students being vaccinated this Friday.

“We expect school to resume as normal on the return from half-term, on Monday, November 1.”

The news comes amid reports that some schools in other parts of the country are reintroducing the so-called ‘bubble’ system, whereby certain classes or year groups are kept apart from the rest of the school to prevent the virus spreading.

In Wirral, COVID-19 cases are rising.

In the week up to October 7, there were 1,196 infections recorded in the borough at a rate of 369 per 100,000.

That is up from the previous week’s rate of 256 per 100,000, with just 830 cases registered.

It is also the highest number of cases Wirral has had since the week up to July 22, when the infection rate was just over 400 per 100,000.

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