Pontefract school forced to send whole year group home as Covid causes 'exceptional levels of staff absence'
A Pontefract secondary school has been forced to close to a number of students after "exceptional levels of staff absence" due to Covid isolation.
Outwood Academy Hemsworth said it had made the "difficult decision" to close to its new year 10 pupils for a week.
The new year 10s, who moved up from year 9 when the school's timetable rolled over at the end of June, will learn from home until returning to school on Wednesday, July 14.
In a letter to parents, Principal Toby Rutter said: "In light of the current health emergency, it is with regret that Outwood Academy Hemsworth have had to make the decision to carry out a partial closure for a year group.
"At this moment in time, exceptional levels of staff absence means that we cannot safely accommodate all students in the academy.
"As I’m sure you will understand, the decision to close the academy to even one year group is something which I have not done lightly. Thank you for your understanding and support during these difficult and unprecedented times."
The school, which has more than 1,100 pupils, said it was regularly reviewing the situation and would prioritise sending other year groups home in future if needed, "to limit any potential lost learning for Year 10".
In a series of tweets, the academy said: "The health, safety and welfare of our students, staff, families and the community are at the forefront of the decisions we make. In light of the current health emergency, it is with regret that we have had to make the decision to carry out a partial closure to the New yr10s.
"At this moment in time, exceptional levels of staff absence means that we cannot safely accommodate all students in the academy. We have therefore made the difficult decision to close to the new Year 10s from Thurs 8 July until Tuesday 13 July, returning on Wednesday 14 July.
"A letter and online lesson timetable can be found on our website. If your new Y10 student is isolating and has been given a date to return to school which after the 14 July, then they must continue to isolate and return when their isolation period has been completed."