ALMOST 800 pupils in Tameside have been told they need to isolate after confirmed coronavirus cases in the borough’s schools in the last two weeks.
Since the start of the September term and the return of all pupils back to school, hundreds of children and young people have had to quarantine after positive cases of Covid-19.
As of Thursday, September 17, 16 schools in the borough had been affected by outbreaks among pupils and staff, with many sending whole year groups home.
Speaking at a meeting of the health and wellbeing committee, assistant director of population health Debbie Watson said that while schools had been open before the summer, there had been no incidences where people needed to self-isolate.
However, since the full reopening of schools these numbers have dramatically increased.
“Up to last Friday we had about 290 pupils isolating as a result of cases in schools,” Ms Watson said.
“I think this week we’re probably heading up towards 500 and we have been able to act quickly and confidently in ensuring that close contacts are self-isolating.
“We have a school contact tracing cell that meets every day at 11am and goes through each case within any school line by line, we identify those cases and we manage those cases same day.
“We’ve also had great engagement from our headteachers.
“We’ve also developed contingency plans for local escalation and we have also been making available home tests in all schools. We’ve been getting good feedback from schools around the support they’ve had.”
Cases of Covid-19 have risen sharply in recent weeks, with the borough hitting an infection rate of more than 100 cases per 100,000 residents.
However, in the week to September 17, the numbers fell back to 94.5, although it remains in the ‘red zone’ along with seven other Greater Manchester boroughs.
Director of public health for Tameside, Jeanelle de Gruchy, said it appeared that a new epidemic was occurring in the region as the cases had gone up ‘really quite rapidly’.
“The picture is one of real concern and that rise in community transmission then translates into an impact on a wide range of sectors, our schools, and cases of staff and pupils being infected,” she added.
“It also translates into people who are more vulnerable to the ill-effects of having Covid and so it translates into an increase of cases in care homes and hospitals and unfortunately the consequent deaths from those increased community transmission cases.”
Tameside schools affected by positive Covid-19 cases:
• Great Academy Ashton, Tameside –
part of Year 10
• St Stephen’s RC Primary, Droylsden –
confirmed case in Key Stage 2
• St Anne’s Primary, Denton –
one class in Year 5
• Inspire Academy, Ashton – Year 1
• Yew Tree Primary, Dukinfield – Year 5
• Manor Green Primary Academy, Denton –
• Droylsden Academy – one staff member
• Denton West End Primary –
two classes from Year 3 bubble
• Dowson Primary Academy, Hyde –
• Fairfield High School for Girls, Droylsden –
some Year 11 and some Year 9
• Pinfold Primary School, Tameside –
Year 4 and Year 5
• Waterloo Primary School, Ashton –
two classes in Year 4 bubble
• Mossley Hollins High School –
staff member tested positive, no isolations
• Mottram CE Primary –
one class from Year 4/5
• Denton Community College –
one positive case
• Audenshaw School – one positive case