Headteacher warns parents over lesser known Covid symptoms as school closes

The headteacher of a school which has closed amid a Covid outbreak has warned parents to be on the lookout for lesser known symptoms.

Etchells Primary School, in Cheadle, Stockport, had already sent a number of years home to self isolate after positive cases, but yesterday (Tuesday) it was forced to close altogether.

Bosses at the school say they have been looking into ‘why the spread of Covid-19 happened so quickly’ and feel it’s partly because children did not display the main symptoms associated with the virus.

Rather than having a high temperature, a new continuous cough, or a loss or change to their sense of smell or taste, the youngsters complained of other symptoms – with some of those who tested positive having no symptoms at all.

In a letter to parents yesterday, headteacher Cathy Beddows said: “Today I met with Stockport Public Health England as well as the local authority and medical and Health and Safety specialists. We reviewed the situation at Etchells and looked at why the spread of COVID-19 happened so quickly.

Video Loading

“One reason, as I outlined in my letter yesterday, is the onset of symptoms which haven’t been publicised as key Covid-19 symptoms. These include a headache, fatigue, aches – especially in the neck and shoulders, sore throats and sickness. Some of our positive cases actually had no symptoms at all.

“Please be watchful for these symptoms in your families.”

Etchells Primary School, in Cheadle, has now closed to every year group
(Image: Manchester Evening News)

It’s not known how many confirmed cases the school has had altogether, but it was a positive case in the one remaining bubble at the East Avenue school which sparked the full closure.

“The tracking and tracing of all those who have had close contact with positive cases has meant we can no longer keep our classes open,” said Mrs Beddows.

“I have written to every year group and class with details of the isolation period.”

She added: “After discussion, we decided that the best course of action would be to keep the school closed until the half term holiday and reopen for all children on Monday 2nd November. This way, the school can have a thorough deep clean and we can give both staff and pupils the time to recover.”

Jennifer Connolly, director of Public Health at Stockport Council, praised the way schools across the borough have followed safety restrictions.

“We manage any setting-based outbreak through a risk assessment and provision of advice, including isolation of close contacts and infection control measures as necessary,” she said.

Video Loading

“We are aware that not all Covid-19 cases have exactly the same traits, however the three well publicised symptoms – a high temperature, a new, continuous cough and a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – have been shown to be the most commonly identifiable indicators of coronavirus. If you are experiencing any of these listed symptoms please do book in for a test by visiting gov.uk or calling 119.”

The Manchester Evening News is keeping an up-to-date list of all the bubble closures throughout the region, where close to 500 schools have now been impacted by positive cases in some way.

There have been a number of other full school closures too, including Armitage CE Primary in Ardwick, Chesham Primary in Bury and Bare Trees Primary in Oldham, which we reported on earlier this week.

Has your school had to send children home to self-isolate? Let us know in the comments or email the details to emma.gill@reachplc.com.

|Ma Evening Post