Second school sends 1,500 pupils home after false widow spider outbreak

·2-min read
Pupils sent home after false widow spider outbreak at school
Pupils sent home after false widow spider outbreak at school

A second school has been closed following a suspected false widow spider outbreak.

The Duston School, in Berrywood Road, Northampton, sent 1,500 pupils home on Wednesday while they assess the situation.

The infestation, if confirmed, would be the second to shut a Northampton school in as many weeks, after Malcolm Arnold Academy had to shut temporarily earlier this month.

In a letter sent to all parents, Duston principal Sam Strickland confirmed that both the primary and secondary phases of the school would be forced to close.

He said that all staff and students will not be able to attend the school while the spiders are removed.

The Duston School sent a letter to parents after the suspected false black widow spider outbreak.
The Duston School sent a letter to parents after the suspected false black widow spider outbreak.

But pupils will not be getting a day off with teachers set to provide online work to be completed.

The letter, sent to parents on Tuesday, said: "Please be advised that due to a suspected outbreak of False Black Widow Spiders [sic] we are regrettably having to close both phases of the school to all pupils and staff tomorrow (Wednesday) to allow the situation to be assessed and for the school to be cleaned.

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"A decision regarding the re-opening of the school will be made following an update tomorrow and this will be communicated to you accordingly.

"I cannot apologise enough for the inconvenience that this may cause you, especially in terms of organising child care arrangements.

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"However, the health and safety of the school community must come first and foremost.

"Work will be set for all of our pupils to complete at home via Microsoft Teams. I will update you as soon as I have any further news."

A false widow spider is often confused with the more dangerous black widow, and they do bite, but very rarely attack humans.

They are often sighted at this time of year, and in what the Wildlife Trust describes as "extremely rare" cases of humans being bitten by them, it is compared to a wasp's sting.

The closure has come just two weeks after another Northampton school closed on Friday, September 17.

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