Fringe Box



Only One Guildford School Reveals Current Covid Infection Rate

Published on: 5 Oct, 2021
Updated on: 6 Oct, 2021

By Martin Giles

A claim by a Guildford Dragon NEWS reader that Covid infections were “rampant” among secondary school children in Guildford have been left unanswered.

The reader who gave his name and said he had a niece at one of Guildford’s large comprehensive schools, claimed that the rates of infection in local schools were much higher than the rate recently reported by ONS of 5% among those of secondary school age. He said that in his niece’s class 18 out of 30 pupils were infected.

Children’s risk from the virus is very low, and serious illness is rare.

Seven Guildford schools were asked to give: the number of their pupils that have currently tested positive for Covid, what the rates have been since the term started and; how the infections were affecting the operation of their school. They were also asked to say what measures were being taken to decrease infection rates and their impact.

But only one of the seven schools to whom our request was sent responded, Worplesdon Primary School, which has 520 pupils.

A spokesperson for the school said: “Since the beginning of the academic year, we have had 61 confirmed positive cases within our pupil community and nine confirmed cases within our staff community. We have had five confirmed positive cases in the last five days.

The school, in line with national guidance and consultation with local Health Protection teams and Public Health England, is working hard to mitigate further risk of infection by:

Remaining in year groups bubbles when outside; inside the building children mostly remain in their classes.

Promoting hand hygiene using sanitising stations.

Ensuring rooms are well ventilated.

Continuing with regular cleaning including lunchtime clean of all surfaces.

Continuing with virtual assemblies to avoid pupils mixing within year groups.

Ensuring adults wear masks in the building (not when in their own classrooms).

Maintaining the staggered drop off and pick up at beginning and end of day to avoid large groups of people.

Maintaining two staff room areas to allow for social distancing amongst staff.

Limiting external visitors (for those who do need to be in school, masks are essential).

A spokesman from Surrey County Council said: “We continually review the Covid data in Surrey and are working closely with schools to help them minimise transmission and keep their pupils in school within the current guidelines.

“There is a delicate balance to be struck between Covid prevention measures and keeping children in school for the benefit of their education and mental wellbeing. Schools still have very effective infection control measures in place, including enhanced cleaning, ventilation, frequent LFD testing and hand washing.

“Alongside this, the Covid immunisation programme for 12- to 15-year-olds in schools is now well under way. Vaccination, along with continued testing, is the best way to keep infection rates down.”

The spokesperson also provided a link to the following chart which shows that while the infections rate is much higher within the 10- to 19-year-old age group and rising, the latest “seven-day rolling rate” figure of 1,151 cases per 100,000 is only just over 1%, completely out of line with the national figure of 5% given by ONS.

A SCC spokesperson asked to confirm our interpretation of the chart, said: “Whilst the dates may be the same, the ONS estimates are based on proactive tests carried out on a random sample of the population (whether they had symptoms or not), whereas the rates reported in our Intelligence Summary are based on confirmed recorded cases where people have presented for Covid-19 testing.”

The BBC has reported this evening (Tuesday, October 5) that the number of pupils absent from England’s state schools rose by two-thirds to 204,000 in the fortnight to Thursday, September 30.

Department for Education figures show 2.5% of pupils were out of school for Covid-related reasons on this day.

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