Two Chinese schoolchildren 'unfairly' excluded from Milton Keynes schools over Coronavirus fears, claims dad

Dad says two Milton Keynes schools are overreacting and going against health guidelines.

Monday, 3rd February 2020, 8:00 pm
Updated Monday, 3rd February 2020, 10:53 pm

A dad whose Chinese children have both been excluded from school this week has accused heads of being overzealous about the Coronavirus risk.

The girl aged six and 10-year-old boy have both been asked to stay away from their respective schools for 14 days as a safety precaution.

One goes to Long Meadow Primary at Shenley Brook End and the other is at the private MK Prep School in Bletchley.

Coronavirus

Both schools became concerned when they learned the little girl last week accompanied her mum to Beijing to visit a relative suffering from cancer in hospital.

Bejiing is 1,200 kilometres away from Wuhan, the epicentre of the Coronavirus outbreak. This is the same distance as London to Warsaw in Poland, says the children's father.

He said his wife and daughter spent their time in a sterile environment in a specialist cancer ward and there was nobody there suffering from the virus.

The son has not visited China since the summer of 2019.

Bejiing is 1200kg away

"I have checked and re-checked the guidelines from Public Health England about Coronavirus. They all state that people returning from other parts of China, such as Bejiing, should continue as normal at school," he said.

"I think the schools are overreacting and, by excluding my children, are going against the official health advice."

The father has appealed to Long Meadow head Philip Gray and MK Prep head Simon Driver, quoting the government guidelines to both and asking them to change their minds.

He says both have refused to budge.

Long Meadow's Mr Gray said in an email to the family: "Following reviewing all the guidance (which is only guidance and not a requirement) and considering the potential risk to the school community, the original decision for xxxx returning to school after the half term break will still stand."

His email adds: "This will ensure that any risk, no matter how small, will be eliminated as it will be outside the 14 day period. If xxxx were to develop symptoms within the 14 day period and was attending school, this would have meant large numbers of the school community may have been exposed. I know that these are 'if's and 'may's, but this still means there is a possible risk. As a school we have decided to take a precautionary stance on this matter."

Meanwhile MK Prep's Mr Driver has sent a letter to parents urging them to "follow Foreign and Commonwealth Office advice" and not travel to mainland China and Kong Kong unless their travel is essential.

The letter states: "The wellbeing of our community is particularly important at this time."

MK Prep School declined to comment.

Long Meadow is not available for comment this evening.