Thousands of school pupils self-isolating following rise in coronavirus cases
Liam Randall, local democracy reporter
Around 1,100 school pupils are currently self-isolating in Flintshire following a rise in coronavirus cases in the area.
Flintshire Council has reported a total of 60 new Covid-19 cases across 24 schools since last Monday (21 June), which in some cases has caused entire year groups to be sent home.
The figures were released on the same day Public Health Wales announced there had been 70 new cases in the county in the 48 hours up to 9am on Sunday.
Meanwhile, the rolling seven-day infection rate per 100,000 of the population in Flintshire stands at 142.9, which is the highest out of the 22 local authority areas in Wales.
The spike in cases comes as the Delta variant, first identified in India, has pushed numbers up, particularly among young adults and school children, many of whom have yet to be vaccinated.
The local authority has pledged to keep schools open until the end of the school year despite the increase in cases.
Claire Homard, the council’s chief officer for education, said: “Whilst the number of classes affected by positive cases has risen in recent weeks, there are no current plans to close any schools in response to Covid cases or to close schools early before the end of term.
“Flintshire schools receive excellent support from the council’s TTP (Test, Trace, Protect) team and act swiftly to identify contacts when a notification of a positive case is received.
“Schools try hard to keep the number of pupils self-isolating to a minimum but this is dependent on the building and teaching arrangements in each individual school.
“When pupils are required to isolate, which is in line with national health guidance, then schools will move them onto remote teaching platforms to ensure continuity of learning.”
The situation is similar over the county border in Wrexham, where 1,313 pupils were self-isolating as of the end of last week.
A total of ten schools in the area are currently reported as having positive cases.
In Flintshire, youngsters at Connah’s Quay High School were today urged not to socialise with children from other year groups outside of school as cases continue to rise.
Ms Homard added: “Schools have been managing this pandemic effectively for more than a year now and are well versed in implementing Covid secure measures which include rigorous cleaning schedules.
“Whilst we are all frustrated by the rise in cases and the disruption this is causing, everyone’s priority is to keep learners safe and ensure that they continue to access quality learning and teaching in the short time left now until the end of the academic year.”
On Saturday PHW released figures that confirmed cases of coronavirus in Welsh schools had reached their highest level since the height of the second Wave of the pandemic last December and had more than tripled in the last three weeks.