Mansfield mum holds back son from school over coronavirus fears

A Mansfield mum with bowel disease has kept her 12-year-old son back from his Mansfield Woodhouse school amid fears over coronavirus.

Thursday, 3rd September 2020, 4:45 pm
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Mum of two, Catherine Rhodes, 38, has no immune system and says her son Daley is “extremely anxious” about picking up coronavirus and passing it to her.

Catherine’s long-term health condition is managed by an immuno-supressant infusion treatment at King’s Mill Hospital every eight weeks.

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Daley, in Year 8, was to start at The Manor Academy, Mansfield Woodhouse, (today) Thursday, but Catherine kept him off after changes to the school’s virus safety measures.

Catherine, from Ladywood, said: “The school sent out a Covid 19 information pack over the summer. As a parent, I thought their original plans were great. I was confident about them using staggered start and end times, supervised staffed doorways, children in one bubble classes with the same 30 children, with the teachers moving around. I reassured Daley it would be okay.

"Now they have introduced mask wearing, like a miracle cure and the children are to move round.”

A school statement to carers and parents, August 27 reads: “...we have decided to introduce the wearing of face masks for students in communal areas, such as corridors, café or when students are coming onto, leaving or moving around the site.

“Students would take masks off in lessons...and “we will not have to enforce a staggered start and end time to the school day as students can safely arrive at the same time wearing their masks.”

Catherine said: “If children move around, will the school sterilise each classroom, each chair and table after use? How will they police mask wearing now it’s back to a free for all, they couldn’t police the correct uniform pre Covid?

“I’m immuno-suppressed and Daley is extremely anxious about bringing the virus home, so I kept him back today. My daughter Corah is at Farmelo Primary. I can’t praise their measures enough.”

A spokesperson for Manor Academy said: “The safety and wellbeing of our students, staff and wider school community continues to be our absolute priority. We have worked tirelessly over the last few months to ensure we have all possible safety measures in place so that we can safely welcome everyone back to school this September.

“We have closely followed government advice to implement robust systems and protocols which will help minimise the contact that each student has throughout the day, including through the use of social bubbles, face coverings in some areas and increased cleaning and hygiene procedures, amongst many other measures.

“We absolutely appreciate and understand that there will be heightened anxieties for some students and families about returning to school.

"However, we want to reassure students, staff and families that we have all the necessary safety measures in place and are doing all we can to ensure our students have the best possible start to the academic year, after what has been an extraordinary few months.

“We’d encourage any parent or student with any concerns or queries to contact the us directly so that we can work with them to ensure they are appropriately supported.”