A SCHOOL'S canteen has been forced to close for two weeks after a staff member tested positve for coronavirus.

Queen Elizabeth High School in Bromyard has said Black Pepper School Lunches, who run the canteen, will not operate at the site until December 9.

It means children who would normally get food from the canteen will have to take a packed lunch, and those pupils who receive free school meals will be given vouchers.

The school has said it does not need to close.

Martin Farmer, headteacher at the school in Panniers Lane, said in a letter to parents on Tuesday: "I have this afternoon been notified by Black Pepper School Lunches that a member of their staff at QE has received a positive Covid test as a result of a family contact.

"I have spoken with the Department for Education on the matter and having gone through the definitions for contact with them I am as assured as I can be that the risk of that staff member having passed on the infection to children is minimal as they have little to no interaction with the student body, wear all available PPE and for this specific staff member the only interaction is with year 7 from behind a screen.

"Therefore, Black Pepper School Lunches will be ceasing their operations on the school site with immediate effect and will not return to operations until December 9 whilst the staff who work within the operation follow an enforced self-isolation.

"Where this does not readily identify a need for the school to cease operating, it would be prudent for parents and carers to remain vigilant in identifying symptoms within children and taking the appropriate action.

"I can share that the affected member of staff has not been in school since 10am on the Friday of last week, further giving me confidence that this will hopefully be an isolated case."


He added: "Where this does pose an issue for us is in the provision of meals and free school meals.

"For those students who purchase their snacks or lunches they must now bring a packed lunch until the service resumes on December 9.

"For those students entitled to free school meals, can we ask parents/carers prepare a packed lunch for them from tomorrow and we will issue vouchers for supermarkets through the Wonde system that we have implemented ready for the Christmas break.

"Rest assured that although you may need to purchase food now you will be reimbursed if entitled."