Coronavirus cases in Barnsley are rapidly rising, due to both the Delta variant and the recent relaxation in restrictions, but the rise in cases in youngsters across the borough is becoming increasingly concerning.
Less than two months ago, on May 17, the rate for 15 to 19 year olds in Barnsley was just 32.4 per 100,000 residents - the rate at the end of June was 1,519.9, more than a 4,000 per cent increase.
The ten to 14-year-old category currently has a rate of 969.7 per 100,000 residents when on May 17 the rate was 42.2.
Rates of school-aged children are much higher than the overall rate, which is 410.3 per 100,000 people - suggesting that the virus is spread more in primary and secondary schools.
The Chronicle revealed last week that a mass testing programme was ‘urgently’ brought in to Penistone Grammar School after Covid cases quadrupled in just a week.
The spike - which occurred between June 20 and June 28 - has predominantly affected the year ten group, which had 30 cases.
However, school bosses have also seen increases in years seven and eight, which contains youngsters between the ages of 11 and 13.
Cases across the borough in youngsters have been affecting pupils’ learning - something which principal Paul Crook admitted was ‘frustrating’.
Julia Burrows, the town’s director of public health, confirmed that a total of 38 schools in Barnsley have been forced to close a bubble or class because of a positive test - just weeks before pupils are set to leave for summer holidays.
She told the Chronicle: “Like most areas across the country, and particularly in the north of England, schools are being affected by the rise in cases of Covid-19.
“Barnsley currently has 38 schools affected, including all ten secondary schools.
“All school cases are reported to our public health team, who monitor and provide support and intervention when necessary, in partnership with Public Health England, when required.”
Ms Burrows is also encouraging pupils to get involved with regular testing to ensure they aren’t entering school premises when Covid-positive - one in three people who test positive show no symptoms of the virus.
“The team also support schools with interpreting national guidance and managing cases, clusters and outbreaks,” she added.
“I urge everyone to continue playing their part to manage transmission of Covid-19 by regular testing, isolating when requested to, and following the basics.”