Leicester Mercury

7k pupils had to isolate


- By AMY ORTON Local Democracy Reporter amy.orton@reachplc.com @amy__orton

MORE than 7,000 pupils in Leicester were asked to isolate because of confirmed coronaviru­s cases in the first half term back since lockdown.

The figure accounts for 13 per cent of all city pupils. There were 261 cases of Covid-19 in 75 city schools.

Leicester City Council strategic director for education Martin Samuels said: “In context, just 0.3 per cent of pupils tested positive, with 87 per cent of pupils not needing to isolate.

“It’s been amazing work by schools.

“It’s a story of two halves, really, because while naturally we’ve seen cases at individual schools reported, and more than half of the city’s schools have had cases, there’s also the fact so many children have been able to continue their education without any disruption at all.

“It’s a credit to head teachers and all school staff that things have gone how they have.”

Mr Samuels said a lot has been learned by education bosses in the first stint back in class since the national lockdown was lifted.

“It’s only been half a term, but it’s amazing how much we have already learned,” he said.

“The advice at the start of term was to put the children in bubbles and if there were any confirmed cases the whole bubble would be instructed to self-isolate for two weeks.

“But what schools have actually become very adept at doing, and in particular secondary schools, is identifyin­g those pupils that have had close contact so we don’t see between 30 and 100 pupils needing to stay at home.

“The 7,200 figure sounds a lot but that isn’t the number of pupils who were all self-isolating at one time, that’s the total number of pupils who have had to self-isolate at some point in this first half term.

“Some of those 7,200 also won’t have been off school for the full 14 days – there have been several occasions where a whole bubble is sent home when a case is confirmed, the school has then worked through that list of pupils and invited those that can, to come back into school.

“At most, at any one time there would have been no more than 2,000 pupils self-isolating, which equates to about 5 per cent of pupils.”

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