NEARLY 50 per cent of schools in the Bradford district have been hit by one or more cases of Covid-19, the Telegraph & Argus can reveal.

As of Friday, September 25, 103 of 214 schools (48 per cent) have had cases and 57 schools have had bubble or year group closures.

Bradford Council said all schools remained open, but 5.5 per cent of the whole school population were remote learning - that includes all children self-isolating, but who may not have, or ever develop, Covid-19.

Councillor Imran Khan, Deputy Leader and Portfolio Holder for Education, Employment and Skills, said: “Our schools are continuing to do an excellent job in the very challenging circumstances caused by Covid-19.

“All schools have protective measures in place in line with national government guidance.

“Staff have worked tremendously hard to reopen for the autumn term and I applaud and thank them for their efforts. Robust systems are in place to report any positive cases. Close contacts are identified and told to self-isolate and parents given advice and support. Schools have access to support from Bradford Council and public health experts throughout the process.”

Cllr Khan added: “In Bradford district there are more than 100,000 pupils and 10,000 members of staff across 214 schools.

“While the virus remains in our community, there will always be the risk of cases in schools.

“Schools have plans in place to deliver home learning to any children or young people who are self-isolating. We, as a council, are supporting that through a scheme to get IT devices to pupils who need them to work at home.

“We have proportionately far fewer bubble or partial school closures in relation to cases than most authorities. Fewer bubble or partial school closures helps to reduce the impact on children’s education.

“Education is a priority for Bradford Council.

“We know that children not being in school can harm their prospects and wellbeing – especially children who are already disadvantaged. So, we will continue to support our schools to operate in the safest possible way through the pandemic.

“We can all play our part in tackling the virus by regularly washing our hands, wearing a mask when we should and maintaining social distancing.”

Ian Murch, president of the National Education Union in Bradford, said: “When the case level is so high in Bradford, and still rising, this won’t go away unfortunately. If things outside schools don’t improve, I think schools will have to look towards not having all the children in all the time, so you can ensure more separation between children and children and staff.”

He said it might also be necessary to have a break at some point, for example two weeks rather than one at half term.

Mr Murch added: “I think we know it’s not so much a worry for children, people can react based on that, but it is a real concern for older people in their families and older staff.

“It’s still important we try to stop the spread in schools.”

It comes as cases in schools across Bradford, both primary and secondary, continue to emerge.

Grove House Primary School said a “small number” of pupils who were in close contact with an individual who tested positive will now have to self-isolate for 14 days.

This was also the case at St Stephen’s C of E Primary School, West Bowling, which also confirmed a Covid-19 case within the school.

Headteacher Paul Urry said the school is working closely with Public Health England and the local authority. Those identified as a close contact with the confirmed case have been contacted and told to self-isolate. Juliet Wright, Headteacher at Bankfoot Primary School, also confirmed that there had been positive cases of coronavirus within the school. She said Bradford Council and Public Health England had both been contacted as a result.