THERE has been an increase in the number of students testing positive for coronavirus at Penistone Grammar School.

Pupils in years seven, nine and ten have been affected by additional confirmed cases of the virus, and those who have been in prolonged contact with those confirmed cases are isolating at home for ten days.

Public health bosses in the town say they are happy with the school’s protocol measures, and principal Paul Crook told the Chronicle yesterday that there are ‘no more and no less’ cases than in any other secondary school in Barnsley.

He said: “There had been no cases since Easter but in the last seven days we’ve had a small increase.

“There’s been 13 positive cases which is no more or no less than any other secondary school.”

Letters were sent to students’ parents and carers on Sunday and Wednesday in relation to the outbreak.

One, seen by the Chronicle, said: “The students who have been in direct prolonged contact with a confirmed case have received an individual letter and are isolating at home for ten days.

“We are working closely with Barnsley’s public health department to ensure we are taking all steps possible to alleviate any further transmission and would be grateful for your support.

“Please be mindful that certain strains of Covid-19 present differently and with symptoms that are not typically associated with the virus.

“This includes a headache, sore throat, runny nose and fever. If your child is displaying any of these symptoms, please keep them at home and arrange for a test as soon as possible.”

Julia Burrows, the town’s director of public health, told the Chronicle that health bosses had expected a rise in cases as lockdown restrictions were eased.

“We anticipated, following step three of the roadmap when restrictions were further eased, that there would be some growth in cases as a result of increased community transmission due to more opportunities for social contact,” she added.

“This is combined with the dominant Delta variant, which is more easily transmissible.

“We are seeing this impact across the borough and schools are affected as a result.

“Penistone Grammar School acted quickly to ensure the safety of pupils and staff in all cases by closing the necessary close contact bubbles.

“Parents, carers and staff were notified immediately and kept updated.

“Online lessons have been provided for affected pupils so that they do not miss out on learning.

“I know that this will have caused difficulties for some parents and carers, and I would like to thank them for their understanding of the situation.

“Using lateral flow tests twice a week, and isolating where there is a positive case, will help reduce transmission and I urge households to continue to do this.

“It’s also still really important to follow the guidance which we know can help us keep safe washing hands, wearing a face covering when asked, keeping a safe distance apart and ventilating our homes when meeting inside.

“I also urge people to consider the amount of different people they come into contact with.

“We all need to work together to reduce transmission in Barnsley.”