Face-to-face classes have been halted and students sent home after confirmed cases of coronavirus at the Wilkes Academy.

Now, 85 staff and students have tested positive for the virus – with Swindon council and Public Health England officials stepping in to help contain the outbreak.

Here’s everything we know

  • Westmead-based Wilkes Academy suspended face-to-face teaching on October 13 after a confirmed case of the virus. It is not known whether the first person to test positive was a student or staff member.
  • As of Wednesday, October 21, 85 people at the performing arts academy had tested positive.
  • The majority of those diagnosed with the virus are students.
  • Three year groups at the academy, which runs courses for students aged 16 to 19 and weekend training for under-16s, are self-isolating.

Principal Nikki Wilkes said: “We are in regular contact with Public Health England officials. The current interventions remain appropriate at this stage.  

“Full support is being offered to the students affected and is available 24/7 via our student support and pastoral team.”

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Wilkes Academy, west Swindon Picture: DAVE COX 

  • Swindon Borough Council public health director Steve Maddern said his officials were offering additional welfare support to students affected by the virus and could provide food and medicines if appropriate. He said in a statement: “Our public health team and partners continue to hold regular calls with the management team at the academy to provide advice and support to help them manage and contain this outbreak.”
  • Speaking to BBC Wiltshire, Mr Maddern suggested the transmission of the virus could be happening outside the academy.