Hemel Hempstead school forced to shut for 10 days after Delta variant outbreak

A school in Hemel Hempstead has been forced to shut due to a coronavirus outbreak within the school’s community.

John F Kennedy Catholic School, which has pupils aged 11 to 18, has made the decision to enforce a ‘fire-break’ to help control the spread of the Delta variant.

The virus was already spreading fast around students in Year 10 which resulted in the whole year group being told to self isolate at home.

Read more: Two Hitchin Boys’ School year groups sent home for a week due to Covid outbreak

But now the remainder of the 1,084 students now have to stay at home for the next 10 days.

Paul Neves, the Head, wrote on the school website, that the school was seeing the ‘effects of the Delta variant’ – one of the new variants of concern here in the UK.

He continued: “You will all be aware of the rise in cases of COVID-19 infections in recent weeks across the nation.

“Sadly this has been experienced within the JFK community too. I attended a meeting in the last half term break with a number of officials from Hertfordshire County Council’s Department for Children’s Services and Department for Public Health.

“This weekend I was back in communication with them because of the recent rise in COVID-19 cases and have sought advice.

“They have reported that they are seeing a similar picture in various parts of the county and are clear that we are seeing the effects of the Delta variant, which is highly transmissible and present in high levels in the community in general.

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“Having analysed the JFK data it is clear to see that unconnected cases have come into different year groups and there is a recognition that it is extremely difficult to control these multiple sources.

“Between us we have concluded that a firm plan of action is needed to bring the virus under control in our school community.

“Therefore, the two departments at Hertfordshire County Council have just given me the authority to introduce a ‘fire break’. Currently Year 10 students are isolated from school and are due to return next week. This will proceed as planned. Additionally, however, all other students – Years 7, 8, 9 and 12 – must move to remote learning at home from tomorrow, Wednesday 23rd June, and continue for 10 days. All students in these year groups should return to school on Monday 5th July.”

The headteacher went on to say the decision wasn’t taken lightly but it was a move that was needed.

Students will work at home for the next 10 days with teachers using online platforms to do so.

He also stated that he will be very confident on the return to school that no cases are in the community if everyone conducts a test the night before.

HertsLive – Hemel Hempstead