THREE students at a college in Hove have tested positive for coronavirus after a house party.

The students – at Cardinal Newman Sixth Form College – had attended a “social gathering” in Hangleton last Friday, before term began.

Cardinal Newman’s principal Claire Jarman moved to reassure parents after a week in which two members of staff were also found to have contracted the virus.

She said the latest cases were linked to the sixth form, rather than the school.

In a letter to parents on Friday, she said close contacts have been told to self-isolate, and classrooms would be be deep cleaned this weekend.

Meanwhile, a “member of the college community” at BHASVIC in Hove who went to a welcome day for A2 students has also tested positive for the virus.

The Argus:

The college said it was working with Public Health England and “managing the case safely and effectively”.

It urged pupils to keep attending, and said: “The small number of individuals who have been in direct prolonged contact with the confirmed case will have been contacted by the college and will be staying at home for 14 days (self-isolating).

“For everyone else, the college remains open and you should continue to attend if you are well.”

Across the country, schools have had to send groups of pupils home to self-isolate after detecting positive cases. Some have had to close temporarily to manage the risks.

It is just a week or so since schools re-opened after staying shut for six months amid the coronavirus lockdown.

At Cardinal Newman, staff are concerned about the risks.

The principal said the new cases “demonstrate how quickly and unknowingly young people in particular, with their complex social networks, can spread this disease.”

She added: “Clearly, we have no control over what young people do outside of the college setting, all we can do is continue to take precautionary measures in classroom situations and impress upon young people the importance of social distancing, good hygiene and wearing masks properly.”

The Argus:

Ms Jarman was concerned “lots of students” at the school and the college had been losing or forgetting their masks, and warned that the school is running low on stock.

In her letter, she set out the specifics of the “three further positive Covid-19 cases in the college”.

She wrote: “It was brought to our attention that a house party was held in Hangleton on Friday September 4, before the start of the college term.

“Two young people in the college have now tested positive since attending this party. I informed you of the first case earlier this week and we were informed this morning of a second.

“As the second case was not in contact with the first case in the college, we can assume that the party was the source of the transmission.

“The second young person was asymptomatic but having been alerted by the first went for a test, which we heard this morning was positive. We have since heard of a third positive test, not at the party but from close direct contact with the second case.”

She added: “To alleviate anxiety for parents of children in the school, these are cases related to the college only; none of these students have lessons in the school itself and none have siblings in the school.”

She said the college is “in a different building and there is no mixing of college students with those in the school.”

Ms Jarman shared the news of the latest cases saying she had promised “trust and transparency” amid the outbreak.

She added: “Some of you have shared heartbreaking stories with me and I know that news such as this only increases feelings of anxiety and loss.

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to all those in our community who have been affected in any way by this pandemic.”

Cardinal Newman asked parents to keep a close eye on their emails and get in touch with information.

In a statement, the college said: “While we are monitoring all new measures closely for any improvements or adjustments we can make, we are immensely proud of how quickly our students have adapted to the measures we have introduced so far.

“These include a strict one-way system, staggered timetable, social distancing in classrooms and corridors, mask-wearing in all communal areas and use of hand sanitiser and cleaning equipment with each lesson change.

“It is a testament to our students’ resilience and our staff’s calm, supportive leadership that in spite of the small number of individual cases reported, the atmosphere in the school remains very positive and our attendance high (97%).

“Our priorities are to make sure students are safe and able to continue learning. We did everything we could to make that happen through lockdown, and we continue to do so now.”