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Winter bug forces schools to close early for Christmas

By citizenmike  |  Posted: December 17, 2012

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A winter vomiting bug has forced the early closure of a school because so many pupils have fallen ill.

Barnwood Park Arts College had been due to close for Christmas on Thursday but instead pupils went in for the last time yesterday.

The suspected norovirus has swept through the all-girls school, on Saint Lawrence Road, leaving 150 youngsters and staff out of a total 734 people with the bug.

The building is being deep cleaned over the next few days in a bid to rid the school of the bug before the start of the new term in January.

Headteacher Sarah Tufnell said: "There is a virulent sickness bug going around which seems to have taken hold of many of our students and staff.

"This early closure is clearly not a decision which has been taken lightly as we had a variety of activities planned for the last few days of this term.

"I genuinely believe that it is better to try to prevent the sickness spreading further and potentially causing many families to be ill all over the Christmas break."

A spokesperson for Gloucestershire County Council said: "If a school has an absence rate of around 20 per cent we will consider closing the school in line with Health Protection Agency recommendations.

"They advise a clear 48 hours so that the virus doesn't spread."

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  • bonzaharris1  |  December 17 2012, 10:53PM

    There are people who are not paid sick pay, if the school remained open and this bug spread and they were to catch it, then they too would not be paid while they were off work and recovering from it. Its a nasty bug and it spreads like wildfire, some hospitals have banned visiting in an attempt to contain it, this school needs to be deep cleaned. To contemplate sending children to other schools, so that parents are not inconvenienced is what is ludicrous. Some of these children will already be incubating the norovirous bacteria, and would then pass it on to several other schools. More parents losing pay, and byn then other families christmasses ruined. Why the heck schools should compensate parents for lost pay I do not know, it is not their fault that this has happened. More likely down to some parent sending their child to school when they do not feel well, because they do not want to lose a days pay !!

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  • chori  |  December 17 2012, 10:03PM

    tree1974,the school is not a child care facility. your children are YOUR responsibility, if they decide to close the school then you should look after YOUR CHILD.

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  • cherry011  |  December 17 2012, 8:49PM

    My child attends this school in year8 and I would much rather the school closed to stop the spread of this of the bug.We all have commitments things like this happen. I too think it would be unwise to send pupils to other schools which could cause a lot more pupils to catch it.The school took advice before closing it was not done on their own.A Doctor said it is a very contacious bug a very nasty one would you wish that on your child of course not.

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  • Tree1974  |  December 17 2012, 7:25PM

    In this day and age people can't afford to loose almost a weeks wages because of something like this. The kids still have to go somewhere and, on speaking to a Doctor, this is a ludacris situation. If the school really is so concerned that they have to close perhaps they should think about compensating the parents who have no choice but to work for child care?? Years ago a school wouldn't not have closed unless the staff student ratio was wrong and even then they would have tried to get cover. Anyway, tomorow my child (who has no symptoms) will be contaminating children at a childminders. Thinking that parents can stay home with children who are not unwell is really not taking into account that some people have to work and really need every penny!

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  • moremiles  |  December 17 2012, 7:14PM

    I'm not sure sending teachers or pupils from a school that has high levels of a contagious sickness to other schools is a very wise idea. Surely the whole point is to prevent further infecting hundreds of other people?

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  • moremiles  |  December 17 2012, 7:14PM

    I'm not sure sending teachers or pupils from a school that has high levels of a contagious sickness to other schools is a very wise idea. Surely the whole point is to prevent further infecting hundreds of other people?

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  • Tree1974  |  December 17 2012, 6:32PM

    I have a daughter at Barnwood and I am really unhappy about this. There has been no provision made for the girls who are still young enough to need child care and as a parent of one of these children I have found myself in a situation were I may have to loose 4 days pay just before Christmas and valuable training for my new job. Other local authority workers have to attend their nearest council workplace if their normal place of work is closed. Surely, if the teachers who are well ( and I know there are many) went to schools that are still open, there would be the space and provision for any year 7 or more vulnerable students who need supervision??? I am sure those teachers who now have the rest of the week off will still be paid and whilst I apreceiate they have marking and prep ( I work in education too) I think it unfair that the rest of us should loose almost a weeks pay because GCC don't have a plan for this.

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  • FreeRadical1  |  December 17 2012, 4:23PM

    "Yesterday"? I think that you mean Friday.

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