In common with many schools, at Benenden we have unfortunately been dealing with some cases of coronavirus in school over the past two weeks.
Since the start of term, a total of 13 girls and four members of boarding staff have tested positive for the virus. We are pleased to report that these people have all now fully recovered and everybody on site has now completed their period of isolation and girls are joining lessons in person again.
Two boarding houses accounted for 15 of these cases and we were able to restrict any further spread of the virus through our procedures of separate year group bubbles and our internal track and trace system to identify any close contacts of positive cases.
Following consultation with Public Heath England, approximately 140 girls completed a 14-day precautionary isolation period, during which time all their lessons continuing remotely as well as many of their co-curricular activities. Most of these girls remained here with us on site, in their boarding houses, where they were separated from other year groups and continuing with their learning.
Clearly, as a boarding school where the girls are all living together, cases were always possible this term. Thankfully, we were able to pick up these cases as soon as the individuals developed symptoms using our on-site testing device and this has meant we could respond quickly to these cases.
We have been very reassured by the mature response from the girls all the way during the pandemic, and the support from parents has been incredible. We continue to communicate regularly with parents, staff and girls and are continually reviewing the measures we have in place, with every decision taken in the best interests of the girls here.
We very much hope that this will not happen again, though we suspect it is unrealistic to expect that this will be the case, but, having managed it once, we are very well prepared for the next time.