A PRIMARY School has had to close as a headteacher has blamed some staff for an outbreak of coronavirus after attending a party before the start of term.

In a letter sent to parents on Tuesday John Aspin headteacher of Bacup Holy Trinity Stacksteads CE Primary School said that eight members of staff have contracted COVID-19 following the 'social event' at the home of a former colleague on September 5.

A further three members, who did not attend, have also got coronavirus.

The school’s seven teaching bubbles were closed earlier in the week, following staff positive Covid-19 test results.

Only Year 1 remained open as of Tuesday, with the other year groups closed until at least September 24.

Mr Aspin said by attended the party, they jeopardised 'the hard work that had been put in creating bubbles within school, and numerous cleaning and organisational protocols, by mixing with each other'.

"Had I been aware of the event I would have told them that they should not attend because of the risks, but sadly I was not informed.

"Given that to date eight of the staff members who attended the event have contracted Covid-19, and a further three, who did not attend, have subsequently been infected during this week most likely as a result of working in close proximity to those infected at the event, the dangers of attending such events has been brought into sharp focus.

"The virus can be picked up at any time and in any place, and it is now clear that the school’s procedures are robust and not at fault for the outbreak.

"I have made my feelings of disappointment known to the staff who attended the event.

"I have also apologised to those of my colleagues who did not attend, especially to those who have now contracted the virus.

"They have made no mistakes, but will possibly suffer being viewed with suspicion by you."

Mr Aspin added that he could not 'defend the error of judgement that they made'.

"They failed to appreciate the bigger picture of Covid-19 and knowing each of them as I do, I know each will be genuinely regretting the decision they took to attend what last year would have been an enjoyable event, but in the current situation was an ill-advised action to take, given their responsibilities to the children of the school and to their colleagues.

"A risk was taken by them in attending as a group, and that risk has come to pass due to the presence of someone with Covid-19 at the event. In these times it is easy to forget what the new normal is."

"I offer sincere apologies for the upheaval and worry that you have had to endure this week and the disruption to your family and work lives."

Councillor Alyson Barnes, leader of Rossendale Council, said: "I think that the headteacher is devastated having to take this action.

"When something happens he is left with no choice but to do it and I think it is very unfortunate that it happened and our children's education is being disrupted."

Jake Berry, MP for Rossendale, said: "We have got to continue to work together to try to tackle this virus.

"It must be worry for pupils and staff who have been affected by the virus in this way."