Hartlepool school closes two days early after ‘significantly high’ number of staff told to isolate
A primary school in Hartlepool has been forced to close two days before the end of term amid soaring infection rates in the town.
Jesmond Gardens Primary School will remain closed on Thursday, July 15 and Friday, July 16 due to a “significantly high volume of staff” having to self-isolate.
Parents were informed of the unexpected closure late on Wednesday night.
Headteacher Philip Pritchard has said the decision was not taken lightly and the closure was “absolutely the last thing” he and any staff wanted to do.
Mr Pritchard said: “Hartlepool currently has extremely high number of infections and I have received notification tonight of an additional case of Covid-19 in school.
"Due to a significantly high volume of staff having to self-isolate alongside staff members having to isolate due to their own children’s bubble bursting, I am unable to open school safely.
"This is absolutely the last thing I or any staff wanted to do but I have to ensure the safe running of school but due to significant staff absence, I have made the decision to close.
"I appreciate the impact of this and this decision has not been taken lightly.”
Recently, another primary school in the town closed for a number of days amid staff absence.
Ward Jackson Church of England Primary School, in Clark Street, announced on Thursday evening, July 1 that it would not reopen until the following Wednesday, July 7, after one positive case in the school and 15 staff absent.
Both school closures come as Covid-19 cases in Hartlepool are soaring.
According to the latest data, the town recorded England’s second steepest rise in weekly coronavirus rates with 877.6 cases per 100,000 people in the seven day up to July 8, up from 419.6 per 100,000 in the previous seven days.
The North East is currently the country’s coronavirus hotspot, with four out of the five local authority areas nationwide with the steepest rise in weekly case rates.
South Tyneside has the highest rate at 1,359.2 cases per 100,000 people, followed by Hartlepool.
Middlesbrough is third with 783.1 cases per 100,000 people and Stockton-on-Tees is fifth with rate of 610.6.