Cheadle and Tean primary schools shut after staff are hit by bug
STAFF at two primary schools were struck down by a stomach bug after taking part in a joint training day – forcing one to close for two days.
Staff at St Giles Catholic Primary School in Cheadle and St Thomas Catholic Primary School in Tean came down with the Norovirus bug after attending the event last week.
The Cheadle school was forced to close on Thursday and Friday last week after a number of staff members were too sick to attend work.
However, after undergoing a deep clean they re-opened on Monday.
A spokesman said: “The school was closed on Thursday and Friday due to high levels of staff sickness.
“This decision was taken because the safety and well-being of the children could not be guaranteed without regular staff in school.
“Given that Norovirus is present in the country the opportunity was taken to carry out a ‘deep clean’ as a precautionary measure.”
It is believed the winter vomiting disease had spread between staff at a training session held at St Thomas’s on Monday November 5.
The schools have strong links as they are both part of The Painsley Catholic Academy.
St Thomas’s headteacher Tony Wretham said: “We had some staff off on Thursday and Friday last week but the school has remained open.
“Out of our nine members of teaching staff four were off with a sickness bug – but they all returned on Monday.
“We were at the same training session with St Giles and it could have been that the staff picked up the same bug.”
Both schools insist the bug has not affected pupils.
Mr Wretham added: “One or two of the kids have been off but nothing more than we would expect at this time of year.
“The staff were contacted by the Health Protection Agency and a lot of them were asked to provide samples.”
The HPA are still waiting for all the results to come back but have confirmed it is the infectious disease.
Dr Rob Carr, a consultant with the HPA, said: “The agency has worked closely with Staffordshire County Council and the schools to advise on appropriate exclusion criteria and cleaning measures.
“Early sample results have confirmed our suspicions that the stomach bug in question was Norovirus.
“The infection is particularly difficult to contain when it gets into environments where people mix in close proximity, such as schools.”
The bug, which is characterized by vomiting, diarrhoea, and abdominal pain, usually clears up in less than two days.
Janice Bradbury, from Clayton, worked at St Thomas’ school as a dinner lady for 20 years. She said: “The way it has been dealt with in an open and honest way has reassured the parents.
“It is quite common for bugs to go around in schools especially at this time of year.”