LATEST NEWS: Primary school forced to close until next term after coronavirus case confirmed

BRADFORD schools are continuing to face a tricky balancing act, as two more in the city have had to respond to suspected coronavirus cases.

Primary schools across the country have been steadily reopening in a limited way since Monday, June 1.

Phase Two of the Government's lockdown exit plan outlined that primary schools should allow more students in nursery, reception, year one and year six to come in from that date.

But most schools in Bradford chose to set their sights on reopening on Monday, June 8, while many decided to only extend their offering later in the month.

It highlights the complexity of the situation and schools across the Bradford district have had to constantly weigh-up the need for education and the safety of staff and pupils.

Some have already closed entirely, for a time, after children or staff have tested positive for coronavirus.

The earliest of those was Thorpe Primary School, in Idle, while St Paul's Church of England (CofE) Primary School, in Wibsey, was also forced to close just a day later.

Schools using a "bubble system" though have been able to isolate any positive cases and keep other "bubbles" running.

The intricacies of the Government's guidelines has often left parents concerned when their child's school has not closed, despite someone at the setting testing positive for the COVID-19 virus.

Each example is taken on a case-by-case basis.

A member of the public came to the T&A on Saturday, June 27, to claim there were three positive coronavirus cases at Brackenhill Primary School, in Dracup Road.

The school was still showing as being open on Bradford Council's website and this caused the individual to worry.

But a spokesperson the council said: “We are aware of a small number of cases at Brackenhill Primary School.

“The school has worked with Public Health England and Bradford Council and followed all national guidelines and taken all the necessary action to prevent any spread of the infection.

“A positive test within a school community does not always require closure of that school.”

The Government’s guidance outlines that if a child, young person, or staff member tests positive, the whole school, or even year group, does not necessarily have to close.

It states: “Where settings are observing guidance on infection prevention and control, which will reduce risk of transmission, closure of the whole setting will not generally be necessary.”

Those in the same class or group as the individual who has tested positive for coronavirus should be sent home and advised to self-isolate for 14 days.

But, people who live with children or staff members who have been sent home (other than the individual who tested positive) do not need to self-isolate unless the child, young person or staff member they live with subsequently develops symptoms.

In some cases, schools are erring on the side of caution in order to keep everybody safe.

Fearnville Primary School, in Laisterdyke, for example, closed a reception "bubble" after a child displayed possible symptoms.

Wahid Zaman, CEO of the Nurture Academies Trust which runs the school, said: "This was in line with the school’s policy of maintaining extreme caution, in line with the risk assessment to ensure protective measures to mitigate against infection spread.

"The parent of the child in question has informed us that the child has subsequently tested negative for COVID-19 and displays no current symptoms."