Winter bug forces schools to close early for Christmas
A winter vomiting bug has forced the early closure of a school because so many pupils have fallen ill.
Barnwood Park Arts College had been due to close for Christmas on Thursday but instead pupils went in for the last time yesterday.
The suspected norovirus has swept through the all-girls school, on Saint Lawrence Road, leaving 150 youngsters and staff out of a total 734 people with the bug.
The building is being deep cleaned over the next few days in a bid to rid the school of the bug before the start of the new term in January.
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Headteacher Sarah Tufnell said: "There is a virulent sickness bug going around which seems to have taken hold of many of our students and staff.
"This early closure is clearly not a decision which has been taken lightly as we had a variety of activities planned for the last few days of this term.
"I genuinely believe that it is better to try to prevent the sickness spreading further and potentially causing many families to be ill all over the Christmas break."
A spokesperson for Gloucestershire County Council said: "If a school has an absence rate of around 20 per cent we will consider closing the school in line with Health Protection Agency recommendations.
"They advise a clear 48 hours so that the virus doesn't spread."