Coronavirus cases at Wandsworth schools “very, very low at the moment”

By Sian Bayley, Local Democracy Reporter

There are currently two positive cases of coronavirus across Wandsworth’s schools, it was revealed at Thursday night’s education committee meeting.

Lisa Fenaroli, assistant director for education, told councillors that positive cases in schools “are very, very low at the moment”.

She said there was one case at Granard Primary School and one at Putney High School.

“Associated with that there were 38 contacts of children and 11 suspected cases,” she said.

Greenmead Primary Special School, also in Putney, sent a bubble home after one child was symptomatic.

Ms Fenaroli explained: “That was through the guidance through the DfE helpline because of the nature of the cohort they have at Greenmead, because a large proportion of those children were shielding they said to err on the side of caution.

“The schools, when they are in a position like that, they are using the test kits that they received from the department, so when the parent comes in to collect the child, they are actually doing the test there, sending it off immediately so we get the results back quickly.

“What that then enables them to do, when that result comes back, if it is negative that class can come straight back in again.”

As of Wednesday of last week, school attendance was at 89 per cent, gathered from the 71 schools who had reported attendance figures.

Attendance of vulnerable cohorts was slightly lower, fluctuating between 80 and 85 per cent.

Ms Fenaroli added: “It is also worth bearing in mind in some of those non-attendance figures they may be in bubbles that have been sent home as a consequence of symptomatic children or positive cases.”

However, she noted that there had been in an increase in the number of parents expressing an interest in home education, with 53 families, caring for 73 children, raising the possibility.

The council is working with families to ensure they understand what this means for them.

Councillors raised concerns about testing turnaround, staff well-being and school finances.

Ms Fenaroli acknowledged these issues and says the council has raised them with PHE and the government.

She added that there are currently 59 teachers out of school across the borough, although not all of these are related to coronavirus.

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