School defends decision to stay open

BRIXINGTON Primary School has defended its decision not to close, after the Health Protection Agency confirmed that six children had contracted swine flu.

BRIXINGTON Primary School has defended its decision not to close, after the Health Protection Agency confirmed that six children had contracted swine flu.

This week, a total 150 out of 401 children where asked to stay away from class because of 'flu like symptoms'.

Education bosses at County Hall have also confirmed that eight teachers and classroom assistants out of 50 were also asked not to go to work for fear of spreading the virus.

But one angry father, who didn't wish to be identified said: "The school should have closed last week. They have left it too late and, because they didn't, now more children are ill."


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However, the outbreak, typically characterised by a cough, headache, fever and body aches, with some children even complaining of vomiting and diarrhoea, seems to have peaked.

At one point last week, 170 children were off school with the school being thoroughly cleaned twice every day, under a strict regime.

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Headteacher Jonathon Galling, said in a letter to parents: "The latest expert scientific advice is that individual school and nursery closures to stop the spread of disease are of limited benefit, as swine flu is now circulating more freely in the local community.

"National guidance has been updated so that school and nursery closures are likely now only in exceptional circumstances or, if safe staffing levels are not possible, due to illness."

He said that the most important advice is that children who have symptoms of flu-like illness should stay away from school and, as far as possible, not mix with others.

He added: "It's important to point out that most people who have swine flu make a quick recovery at home."

A spokesman for Devon County Council education department said children and staff were slowly coming back to school: "It's important to realise that some of the cases may be normal flu, which is quite common at this time of year.

"The school is being cleaned twice a day using two different cleaning methods as a precaution.

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