DESPITE publishing misleading information about the number of coronavirus cases in schools which impact the lives of thousands of pupils and their families, a council chief said she is “not concerned” about rising numbers.

Cabinet member for education and skills Cllr Anita Cranmer revised confusing figures about the number of “incidents” in Buckinghamshire schools which had forced year groups to close and pupils to be sent home.

Initially, in her report to full council on Wednesday, December 9, she stated: “So far, there have been 106 incidents where schools have had to close year groups or send pupils home due to pupils or staff testing positive for Covid-19.

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“In each case, the issue has been addressed directly with the school and the service has worked closely with public health to support. The school improvement team hold a central record of each case to support our understanding of the situation across Buckinghamshire.”

When pressed to clarify, Cllr Cranmer said there had been a mistake, and that there had been in fact “168 positive cases” affecting 39 schools in Buckinghamshire.

Bucks Free Press:

Cllr Cranmer and the council failed to disclose which schools had been affected, despite repeated requests by the BFP.

She told council members in the meeting she was not worried because the rise in figures was due to school ‘vigilance’ and that they are separate from that of the general population in Buckinghamshire.

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Buckinghamshire has seen weekly cases rise since October and its current weekly rate per 100,000 people is more than 166 confirmed cases. The county saw 190 daily new cases reported on Sunday, December 13.

As of the same date, Buckinghamshire has 9,234 cases.

“There is one thing I would like to address, which is a slight correction,” said Cllr Cranmer. “It is reported that Covid numbers and isolations in schools have increased.

“We do have 6,000 pupils who are self-isolating at the moment, and we do have 168 positive cases.

“We educate 85,000 children and we also have 242 schools, and, at the moment, 39 schools are affected.

“The increased numbers are probably due to better vigilance, bigger bubbles, perhaps staff being affected when they have to close a whole staff year group and it means that for one student, maybe 77 pupils have to isolate.

“In a way, it’s a product of the success of the schools in their care – their track and trace is very, very good, they operate their own and it is getting better all the time. The bubbles are larger.

“So, in many ways, we’re not concerned about these rising numbers, they do not tally with the general numbers in Buckinghamshire.”

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