DESPITE warnings from unions the Tories re-opened schools last week, and now coronavirus has begun spreading through the school system across England.
Five teachers at the Samuel Ward academy in Haverhill in Suffolk have tested positive for coronavirus, prompting the school to shut.
Two other members of staff at Samuel Ward are awaiting results.
The infections come just a week after children began returning to classrooms in England for the first time since lockdown in March.
Anyone who has been in close contact with the infected staff has been contacted and asked to self-isolate for 14 days, the school said. Further contact tracing will continue and other pupils and staff may be asked to self-isolate.
Elsewhere, coronavirus cases have been confirmed at three schools in the Middlesbrough area, although they will not be closing.
Redcar and Cleveland borough council said on Sunday that a positive case had been recorded at St Benedict’s RC primary school.
St Aidan’s CE primary school, in Hartlepool, said in a Facebook post to parents it also had a confirmed Covid-19 case, while Outwood Academy Ormesby, in Middlesbrough, said in a short statement that a confirmed case had been found ‘within the school community’.
In Redcar and Cleveland, 38 new coronavirus cases were recorded in the seven days to 1st September – the equivalent of 27.7 per 100,000 people, up from 10.2 in the seven days to 25 August. The rate in Hartlepool also rose, from 7.5 to 22.4, with 21 new cases, while Middlesbrough’s rate has risen from 28.4 to 31.2, with 44 new cases.
A further 2,988 cases of coronavirus have been reported in the UK in 24 hours over the weekend, government data showed.
It is the highest number reported on a single day since 22 May and a rise of 1,175 on Saturday, according to the UK government’s coronavirus dashboard.
Tory Health Secretary Matt Hancock said he was ‘concerned’ about the rise in cases ‘predominantly among young people’.
Two further deaths within 28 days of a positive test were recorded, taking the total number of UK deaths to 41,551.
Despite the sharp rise in cases, Hancock insisted the government was right to reopen schools ‘because of the impact on children of not getting an education,’ adding that workplaces which have reopened are ‘Covid-secure’.
Scotland recorded 208 new cases on Sunday, its highest daily increase for more than 17 weeks.
Wales recorded a further 98 cases, its highest daily rise since 30 June, and Northern Ireland recorded 106 new cases, its highest rise since 25 April.
Overall, since the start of the pandemic, 347,152 cases have been confirmed in the UK.