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E. coli school under fire for not closing

The Little Business Academy has defended its decision not to close the school after an E.coli outbreak in its nursery.

Nine children at the school’s Neighbourhood Nursery in East Thamesmead were struck down with the deadly bug last Thursday, according to the Bexley Times.

The nursery was closed down while the Health Protection Agency (HPA) investigated, but Academy bosses refused to shut the remainder of the school, which teaches around 1,500 pupils.

Concerned parents are angry the decision was not taken to close the whole school.

A spokesman for the HPA said: "The incident team discussed at great length whether as a precautionary measure the primary and secondary schools needed to be closed following confirmation of an E.coli case at the nursery. As there was no suggestion of any cases at the schools, and no direct mixing of children on the site, it was agreed the schools should remain open. Deep cleaning is underway at the nursery. The nursery will remain closed until this has been completed."

The spokesman added that the agency has "high confidence in the ability of the kitchen to provide food that is safe to eat. As the E.coli case was confined to the nursery only, it was advised that the primary and secondary sections should remain open. If [the HPA’s South East London Unit] had advised us to close them we would have done so immediately. The safety of our students is of paramount importance."

Dr Diana McInnes, Consultant in Communicable Disease Control at the South East London Unit, said officers were still attempting to identify the source of the outbreak.

Parents are being advised of the situation, and staff and children will need to have had two negative test results to enable them to return to the nursery once it has been officially reopened.

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