A SECONDARY school has written to parents informing them of a further five positive coronavirus cases affecting students and one member of staff.

King John School, in Thundersley, said cases affected students in Year 8, Year 9 and Year 11 in addition to a member of staff.

It comes just days after the school was forced to close its sixthform after a member of teaching staff and Year 13 student tested positive for Covid-19.

In a letter to parents outlining the latest five cases, headteacher Melanie McGAuley said: “We have been informed of five further positive cases of Covid-19 today from Year 8, Year 9, Year 11 and a member of staff.

“We know that you may find this recent increase in cases concerning. We are continuing to monitor the situation and are working closely with Public Health England.

"This letter is to inform you of the current situation and provide advice on how to support your child. Please be reassured that for most people, coronavirus will be a mild illness.”

Mrs McGauley stressed protective measures were in place across the school to keep students and staff as safe as possible.

However, she pointed out that the number of cases at the school mirrored the wider picture in the community.

She added: “All year groups receive guidance on Covid-19 arrangements which is in line with the Government advice.

“ Protective measures are in place across the school. I have checked local district data and it has increased from 70.8 cases per 100000 (October 29) to 130.5 cases per 100000 (November5).

“Unfortunately, the cases this week are a reflection of what is happening in the community. We continue to make sure that students are wearing their masks and taking precautions in school, and we work in line with the guidance.”

Outlining the comprehensive steps the school takes, Mrs McGauley added: “As always, from the moment we were informed of the positive tests, all processes and procedures advised have been enacted. This involves following the the national guidance and a risk assessment with Public Health England (PHE) advisers.”

The headteacher said students from relevant year groups who had been in direct prolonged contact with the confirmed cases were contacted by the school.

She added: “They will now self-isolate for a period of 14 days from the date of last contact. Parents of the individuals will receive notification of their child’s isolation dates.”

The school, common with others in Essex, has detailed plans in place to respond to positive cases.

Mrs McGauley added: "We have classroom seating plans which enable us to quickly identify individuals who have been in direct prolonged contact with a person who has tested positive.

"This enables Essex Track and Trace to advise us on who should be sent home to self-isolate. We are doing everything we can to follow Government guidance and keep our students and staff safe.

"The school remains open and your child should continue to attend if they remain well."