Parkhall College forced to close after Covid case

PARKHALL Integrated College is expected to reopen today (Tuesday) after an ‘exceptional closure’ due to a case of Covid-19.

However, because of the number of teachers being asked to self isolate, some students will be expected to work from home this week.

Principal George Beattie wrote to parents and guardians on Friday and a notification was also distributed via the school’s mobile app.

He wrote: “I wish to inform you that a member of our school community has tested positive for Covid-19.

“I have sought the most up-to-date advice from the Public Health Agency (PHA) and the Education Authority.

“Those affected have been notified separately and will now be required to isolate in line with advice from PHA.

“In order to mitigate against any risk and to allow the necessary isolation of all areas for 48 hours, the earliest this enhanced clean can take place is Monday September 21.

“School will therefore be closed on Monday and will re-open on Tuesday September 22.

“I do appreciate the concerns of parents, pupils and the wider school community and wish to reassure you that every precaution has been taken.

“Ensuring the safe return of pupils and staff to school is my absolute priority, and I will continue to monitor this situation carefully and keep you informed.”

On Monday afternoon, Mr Beattie issued a further information bulletin with advice for students.

“Due to the number of staff having to undertake precautionary self-isolation over the next 14 days, it will be necessary to introduce a rotational structure where certain year groups will be required to work from home through Google Classroom on a staggered basis.”

Year 11 pupils will be required to work from home on Tuesday September 22.

Year 9 pupils will be required to work from home on Wednesday September 23.

Years 12, 13 and 14 will finish on Wednesday September 23 at 2.05pm.

Year 10 pupils will be required to work from home on Thursday September 24.

Year 8 pupils will be required to work from home on Friday September 25.

Mr Beattie said: “This will be kept under review as we progress through the week and may be subject to change and a further update will be provided in due course for the week beginning September 28.

“I do appreciate the concerns of parents, pupils and the wider school community and wish to reassure you that every precaution has been taken.

“Ensuring the safety of pupils and staff within school is my absolute priority, and I will continue to monitor this situation carefully and keep you informed.

“I apologise for the timing of this communication but hope you appreciate that this is a situation that is changing on a day to day basis.

South Antrim DUP MLA Trevor Clarke said: “I wish the individual who tested positive a speedy recovery and I’d like to commend the school for making the right decision for all pupils and staff and be glad to see it open again on Tuesday.”

Meanwhile Antrim Grammar is understood to have cancelled a Colour Run event this weekend past due to concerns over the spread of the virus.

St Joseph’s Primary School is also understood to have had a case within the school community in recent days, but did not fully close, as teachers in primary school generally remain in one classroom, as opposed to the much higher traffic and movement of teachers and pupils experienced in secondary schools.

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