Norovirus forced school to closeBy Laura Herbert
September 19, 2011
Children at Binfield CE Primary School had a delayed start to their school life due to a sickness bug outbreak among staff.
The primary school was due to open its door to pupils on Monday, September 5, but staff sickness, now believed to be an outbreak of norovirus, meant pupils could not start until last Friday.
The school was closed last week after staff fell ill following a lunch buffet during an inset day at the school in Benetfeld Road on Friday, September 2.
Thames Valley Health Protection Unit is continuing with investigations.
A spokeswoman said: “The Health Protection Agency’s Thames Valley Health Protection Unit (TVHPU) is working with Bracknell Forest Borough Council environmental health and education departments, NHS Berkshire and school authorities to investigate an outbreak of diarrhoea and vomiting illness associated with Binfield CE Primary School in Berkshire.
“Investigations to establish the source of the illness and its spread are ongoing and early laboratory results show a norovirus illness which easily spreads from person to person.
“Binfield CE Primary School is co-operating fully with this investigation with all concerned authorities and all appropriate infection control measures are being implemented. The school has now re-opened as there are enough staff members to resume their normal school duties.”
A letter to parents from Headteacher Suzie Wright posted on the school’s website said: “We held an inset day at the school on Friday, September 2, which included all of our staff (52 in total). It is usual on a day such as this to provided staff with a light lunch.
“As our catering staff were involved in the inset day and our school kitchen was having its routine annual deep clean, a buffet lunch was provided by an outside company. I can confirm our kitchen was in no way involved in the lunch preparation.
“Over the course of the weekend staff began to become unwell with sickness and diarrhoea. By early Sunday evening it became clear to me we would have insufficient staff to open the school.
“The chairman of governors and the local authority were advised and the decision was reluctantly taken to close.”
Anyone in the school with vomiting or diarrhoea is advised to stay off school for 48 hours or until the symptoms have passed.
For more information call NHS Direct on 0845 4647 or visit www.hpa.org.uk/infections