Children and staff across seven different education settings have contracted the corona virus, Education has confirmed, with all schools, colleges and early years providers now completely closed to students for the next couple of days.
The decision comes following news that 18 of the positive tests between Friday evening and Sunday afternoon were either students or school staff.
All schools have been closed - even to children of key workers - for at least Monday and Tuesday. Public Health has warned that we are still in a "rapidly evolving" situation and that more cases are expected.
Dr Nicola Brink said the decision has been made because her team "simply don’t know the scale of the problem".
"We are concerned with regard to both the number of case identified, as well as their spread across seven separate education settings," she said.
"As we know there are many connections between schools via staff or families, we are expecting more positive cases to be identified. Our contact tracing team is working as hard as possible tolocate everyone who needs to be tested, and this closure will support our efforts. It will help us build a better picture of what is going on.
"We know this will cause some issues for parents of vulnerable students and those who are essential workers. But it is really important that we don’t have sites open for those students until we have had the opportunity to put into place measures to reduce any risk in educational settings where we know there are cases."
All sites where cases have been confirmed will be deep cleaned and the situation will be reviewed on Tuesday before any further decision is taken.
Schools and colleges will reportedly begin a 'soft start' to Distance Learning from tomorrow afternoon and information will be shared with parents in the days ahead.
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