South Shields school's Christmas panto postponed after pupils fall ill

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A South Shields school annual pantomime has been rescheduled after three of its stars became ill.

Mortimer Community College’s Christmas production of Aladdin, set to take place this week, has had to be postponed due to a bout of sickness in the school.

On Monday a member of staff shared a Facebook post announcing that the first night of the show would no longer go ahead due to “a number of the cast falling ill with the Norovirus”.

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However, the school has now clarified that this was posted in error and while a number of pupils are absent with sickness and diarrhoea, there has not been an outbreak of the virus.

Mortimer Community College's Christmas panto has been postponed due to sickness.Mortimer Community College's Christmas panto has been postponed due to sickness.
Mortimer Community College's Christmas panto has been postponed due to sickness.

It comes after several schools across South Tyneside have been closed due to illness in recent weeks.

Jarrow School, Jarrow Cross CE Primary and St Mary’s RC Primary School in Jarrow, as well as St Wilfrid’s RC College in South Shields, have all been closed this month to allow for deep cleans to be undertaken after high numbers of students experienced a sickness bug.

Mortimer Community College, which has around 1,000 pupils, says the number of absences has risen to 120 - including the usual coughs and colds expected at this time of year - and staff have been in contact with Public Health England.

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The pantomime has now been rescheduled and will go ahead from December 11-12 to allow pupils who have spent months rehearsing for their role to still take part.

A spokeperson for the school said: “We have had a few pupils who are supposed to be performing in the panto off school with sickness and diarrhoea, but it’s definitely not norovirus, we haven’t had the level of absence to show an epidemic.

“We decided to cancel the whole pantomime and reschedule it until December. Two or three of the pupils were playing big parts and have been rehearsing for so long that we couldn’t replace them.”

The school has contacted parents and information will be available on the Mortimer Community College website.