BOSSES at a secondary school have instructed all students to work from home until after half-term after struggling to contain an 'outbreak' of coronavirus.

Clacton Coastal Academy, in Pathfields Road, has been forced to temporarily close its doors to pupils following a string of positive Covid-19 cases. 

Since first confirming last week that a case of coronavirus had been recorded within the school, a further four staff members, including three teachers, have tested positive. 

An additional six staff members, with no symptoms, were also said to be self-isolating having come into contact with previous colleagues who had tested positive.

Then, on Sunday evening, headteacher David Lees told parents that a Year 11 student - who had been off school since October 2 with a separate illness - had contracted coronavirus.

Clacton and Frinton Gazette:

Following a crunch-talks meeting with Public Health England and Essex County Council, the academy is now classed as an 'Established Outbreak', and has, therefore, decided to shut.

This means students in all 13 of the school's different year groups will now have to work remotely using the institution's Virtual Learning Programme, until October 23.

They will then be off for the half-term, so will not return to the school until at least November 2.

To ensure this transition can be carried out smoothly, an audit check to establish whether or not students have access to IT equipment has been carried out.

Any pupils who do not have access to the required tech needed to study will be loaned devices by the academy.

Students will be expected to follow their usual timetables and start their first lesson at 8.40am.

In a letter addressed to parents, headteacher Mr Lees said: "I am very aware that I have written to you a number of times over the last two weeks, due to the fast-changing nature of the Covid-19 pandemic.

"My aim has always been to provide you with clear and accurate communication that is shared as quickly as possible.

"To limit the transmission of Covid-19 we are therefore moving all students in the academy onto our Virtual Learning Programme."

A spokesman for the academy aimed to reassure parents and carers that the move to online studying would not disrupt the learning of students.

They said: "Over recent days there have been a number of Covid-19 cases at Clacton Coastal Academy amongst students and staff, and the academy has now been classed as having an 'Established Outbreak.'

"In line with the Department for Education and Public Health England’s guidance, a deep clean of the school is also taking place as a precautionary measure.

"Having met with Public Health England today, the Academy, Academies Enterprise Trust and Essex County Council have agreed that the Academy should move to a virtual timetable for all children for the rest of this half-term.

"This means that students’ learning will continue, but they will be taught remotely whilst working at home, as many did last term. 

"This time the remote learning provision is even stronger.

"We recognise that this is a worrying time for all concerned, and we will always prioritise the health and safety of our children, our families and our staff."