The headteacher at a school in Gedling has criticised Public Health England after they were slow to respond once notified that a staff member had been diagnosed with coronavirus.
Craig Weaver, who is headteacher at Carlton le Willows school, said Public Health England ‘failed to give clear and specific advice’ after contact was made.
Following the confirmed case, pupils in four year groups were told to stay at home by the school.
Mr Weaver told Gedling Eye: “Carlton le Willows Academy has a raft of measures in place to ensure a Covid secure environment for all staff and students.
“Yesterday afternoon we were notified that a member of staff had tested positive to the virus and in line with national guidelines immediately contacted Public Health England.
“Unfortunately, they were slow in responding and also failed to give the clear and specific guidance that schools were promised on interpreting close contacts, leaving us having to make a public health call and decide which staff to send home.
“With others self-isolating and struggling to access tests it is proving impossible to staff classes.
“Today we had no option but to keep some year groups off school.
“This was a very prudent and cautious approach to ensure the continued safety of everybody within school and give us time to seek further clarification.
“On the re-opening of schools the Government assured school leaders that in the event of positive cases, specific guidance would be given by local health protection teams.
“It is wholly unsatisfactory that mitigating measures are in place in schools, yet staffing of those schools is hampered by unclear advice and delays in testing.
“This will of course not just be an issue for Carlton le Willows but for schools across the country. What we have experienced is woefully inadequate. Schools need joined-up government, where specific advice and resources are easily accessible and in a timely fashion.
He added: “We will be keeping our parents/carers informed of all developments.”
Public Health England responded after being contacted by Gedling Eye.
A PHE spokesperson said: “We are aware that a small number of schools have encountered delays in receiving guidance at a local level on what steps they should take to manage a COVID-19 case.
“We are working closely with colleagues at the Department for Education to assist them in developing a solution to this problem which will enable schools to access the advice that they need in the most immediate way possible.”