Cases of Covid Indian variant confirmed at Milton Keynes secondary school
A 'small number' of cases have been discovered linked to Year 9
The Radcliffe school in Wolverton has announced cases of the Indian Covid variant.
Headteacher Paula Lawson has published a statement on social media saying: "A small number of cases of a Covid-19 variant of concern (VOC-21Apr-02, which was first detected in India) have been linked to our school."
She added: "There is currently insufficient evidence to indicate that this variant causes more severe illness or renders the vaccines less effective. However, as a precautionary measure additional testing of close contacts has been advised by Public Health England and the public health team at Milton Keynes Council. Whilst overall cases in Milton Keynes remain relatively low, we want to ensure we do all we can to control this new variant.
"Based on public health advice, testing is being offered to pupils in year nine and some members of staff. This additional testing will enable Public Health England to identify and sequence any asymptomatic cases, and potentially stop onwards transmission of this new variant."
Public Health England has arranged for a mobile testing facility on site and are aiming to test all Year 9 students and all staff who teach Year 9 this Friday.
They will be using the PCR test, which is a more sensitive testing procedure than the Lateral Flow Test, and is the same test used in the NHS testing centres.
"Even though children in Year 9 have recently isolated, it is still important they get tested to pick up any cases that may have been missed," said Ms Lawson.
She added: "Please be vigilant for symptoms of COVID-19 and keep your child at home if unwell. If this happens, then please self-isolate and book a PCR test at https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test or by calling 119. We will continue to keep you updated but if you have specific questions, please feel free to contact our office on 01908 682222 during school hours."
Ms Lawson gave an update early this morning to say the school had been notified that a Year 10 student has tested positive for Covid-19. She did not specify which variant it was,
"Unfortunately, this will mean we will have to close the Year 10 bubble and all Year 10 students will need to isolate until Saturday 22nd May," she said.
Meanwhile, despite the government easing restrictions, the school has been advised that pupils should not ditch their face masks.
The Citizen revealed earlier how cases of the Indian variant had been edging closer and closer to MK over the past week. See our story and map here.