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Deputy headteacher thinks she’s got coronavirus – and calls on government to shut down schools

PUBLISHED: 18:59 17 March 2020 | UPDATED: 18:59 17 March 2020

People are being advised to maintain personal hygiene to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Picture: Yui Mok/PA

People are being advised to maintain personal hygiene to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Picture: Yui Mok/PA

PA Archive/PA Images

A deputy headteacher who lives in Highbury thinks she has coronavirus – and says the government should close all schools during the pandemic.

The 55-year-old started to experience a “tickly cough” on Saturday, and was “coughing a lot” on Sunday, before waking up with a “dull ache” in her forehead, upper back and lungs on Monday. She also thinks she has a temperature.

She called 111 for advice earlier this week and was on hold for 90 minutes without getting any help.

The deputy headteacher has been self-isolating all this week with her husband, who developed a cough today, and says other staff members are self-isolating.

The woman, who does not teach in Islington and spoke on condition of anonymity, told the Gazette: “I started to feel sickish over the weekend. I started to get a cough on Saturday and then on Sunday I was sure I was sick, and on Monday morning I couldn’t go to work. I’m pretty sure I have coronavirus but I have no way of confirming, and I have no way of getting advice on it other than the internet and 111.

“I would never normally have a chest infection or a cough so I’m pretty certain it’s coronavirus.

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“I tried to call 111 and I was on the phone for an hour-and-a-half [without anyone answering]. There are probably people sicker than me that need the service.”

PM Boris Johnson on Monday said: “We think at the moment, on balance, it’s much better if we can keep schools open for all sorts of reasons, but I appreciate this is something we need to keep under review.”

Click here for the latest coronavirus updates from across north London.

But the deputy headteacher said: “I know for a fact one third of our kids weren’t at school today. I just think the government are taking a very long time in making this decision.

“Schools can be put under a lot of pressure when they have low numbers of staff. We are having to put classes together. I’m not the only member of staff now who is self-isolating.”

Reflecting on her situation, she said: “It’s slightly surreal but I’m not surprised, I live in central London, I commute on public transport every day. I’m trapped in my apartment, it’s strange not being able to get out every day. I don’t want to be responsible for someone else getting it. My husband didn’t have symptoms yesterday but he does today.”

Follow our live blog for the latest coronavirus new here.

Staff or pupils with particular underlying health conditions or who are pregnant should also stay at home and follow the latest national guidance on social distancing.

Anyone with symptoms of Covid-19 should stay at home for seven days, or longer if symptoms persist. If you develop symptoms and live in a household with other people, everyone in the household should stay at home for 14 days, to avoid spreading the infection outside the home.


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