The Wokingham Paper

Coronavirus – closure of three schools is 'purely precautionary' says council expert

THE closure of three borough schools is purely precautionary and there is no indication that either site poses a risk. 

That’s the verdict of Wokingham Borough Council’s director of children’s services, Carol Cammiss. 

She was responding to news that Willow Bank Infant and Junior Schools and Aldryngton Primary School are to shut to allow for deep cleans to be carried out after a staff member of the Woodley-based infant school contracted the coronavirus. 

A number of staff members at Willow Bank are self-isolating. 

Aldrygton Primary School is closing as the staff member attended a training session at the Earley school on Tuesday. 

In a statement, Ms Cammiss said that the decision had been taken jointly. 

“Following discussion with Wokingham Borough Council, Willow Bank Junior School and Aldryington Primary School have decided to close for some time next week in order to carry out deep cleans,” she explained. 

“We are supportive of this purely precautionary measure and will continue to work with these and other schools during this difficult time.

“There is no indication that either site poses any risk to pupils or staff but headteachers must satisfy themselves and their school communities that they are doing everything possible to keep children safe.”

How does this new coronavirus spread – I’m concerned I could catch it?

Because it’s a new illness, we do not know exactly how it spreads from person to person, but similar viruses spread by cough droplets or sneeze droplets. These droplets fall on people in the vicinity and can be directly inhaled or picked up on the hands and transferred when someone touches their face.

How long any respiratory virus survives will depend on a number of factors; for example:

  • what surface the virus is on
  • whether it is exposed to sunlight
  • differences in temperature and humidity
  • exposure to cleaning products

Under most circumstances, the amount of infectious virus on any contaminated surfaces is likely to have decreased significantly by 24 hours, and even more so by 48 hours.

If I live in the area where coronavirus patients are reported as coming from – am I at extra risk?

We ensure that someone with coronavirus doesn’t put others at risk by treating them in isolation and carefully investigating who they had close contact with through contact tracing.

Contact tracing is a fundamental part of outbreak control that’s used by public health professionals around the world.

If a person tests positive for coronavirus, we speak to the patient to identify anyone who has who has had close contact with them during the time they are considered to be infectious and go all out to find these people as soon as possible.

Once we have contacted them we can then give them the advice they need. If they are in groups considered to be a higher risk, we make sure that we follow up with them daily to see how they are.  If they become unwell we are then able to assess them quickly and take appropriate action.

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