We will update this article as new information becomes available
A number of schools across Cheshire are currently considering the best course of action in regards to the welfare of staff and pupils.
This follows school trips to Italy, where some parts of the country have been added to Public Health England’s list of areas of concern in relation to coronavirus.
We will provide updates with further details when these are known.
Cransley School – closed for the remainder of this week
Richard Pollock, headmaster of Cransley School near Northwich, received a call from the NHS clinical services at 11pm on Monday evening advising him to ensure that the pupils and staff who visited Bormio in Italy last week to self-isolate, regardless of whether they are showing symptoms of being unwell.
Mr Pollock said: “All pupils who are unwell should inform NHS 111 and insist on being tested for the Coronavirus. Pupils should not use public transport or taxis.
“This is in advance of a forthcoming change in policy regarding UK residents returning from Italy.”
Mr Pollock added: “Despite the current Public Health England advice that the school should remain open to all other pupils, it has been decided, in discussion with the SMT and the chair and vice-chair of governors, to minimise any possible spread of infection and therefore close the school for the remainder of the week.
“During this time, the school will be able to conduct a deep clean, and monitor the results of tests amongst those pupils who are currently showing flu-like symptoms.
“I understand that there will be a variety of reactions to this decision amongst parents, and hope that all families will understand the developing situation… the staff, pupils and families of Cransley are our highest concern.”
In summary, the school is requesting:
– If your child was part of the ski trip to Bormio is unwell, they should remain at home for the remainder of the week, and seek prompt testing from NHS 111.
– If your child was not on the ski trip, but unwell, they should not attend school for the rest of the week and seek testing from NHS 111.
– If your child was not on the ski trip, and is currently well, they should still remain at home.
Bormio is part of Lombardy and is now included in PHE’s areas of concern.
The current advice is for those returning from Italy to immediately self-isolate, even if asymptomatic, and to call NHS 111 to inform health services of recent travel.
Cransley School’s Mr Pollock said: “I ask that you insist on testing taking place. This is the only way that we can ensure that no pupil has been infected.
“I understand that a number of ski-trip participants who are unwell have been, or will be tested today, and that the results will be made available in the next 24 hours. We hope that all are negative.
“Until these results are made available, the position of full closure must still stand.
“Therefore, it is essential that all pupils who participated in the ski trip are tested as soon as possible.
“If any results are positive, we will follow the advice given by the Cheshire Health Protection Team. This is likely to include a full closure until the end of next week.
“Even if all results are negative, it may be the case that ski-trip pupils and staff still need to remain in isolation for the coming two weeks.
“This is in line with current PHE Government advice for all UK residents returning from northern Italy.”
He added: “A decision will be made with the Cheshire Health Protection Team as to whether other pupils should be welcomed back to school.
“This is a complex and difficult situation, yet the governing board and senior management team continue to work together with authorities to ensure a robust and transparent response.”
Sandbach (boys) School – remains open
At around 3pm on Tuesday (25th February) Sandbach School posted on Facebook to update parents.
The post said: “Having liaised with Cheshire East, we understand that there is no need for staff or students involved in the recent ski trip to self isolate.
“The Sandbach School ski trip did not visit an area currently subject to any special arrangements.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the school remains open as usual.”
It added: “Further guidance from Cheshire East is expected shortly.”
The school added that anyone who suspects they are showing symptoms of Coronavirus should follow the latest guidance from the NHS and Public Health England and call NHS 111.
Sandbach (girls) High School – remains open
A school spokesperson said: “The latest advice from Public Health England and NHS 111 is that the students and staff who went on the school ski trip during half term to Aprica (Northern Italy, Lombardy region) are to stay indoors, self-isolate, ring 111 to get further information.
“Please be reassured that no one in the school is presenting with any coronavirus symptoms; we are following advice from Public Health England and NHS 111.”
The school posted on Twitter to say that it remains “open as usual” this afternoon.
Brine Leas School – sixth form closed
The school posted on Twitter to say: “We have taken the decision to close BL6 (sixth form) due to staff shortages.”
Another tweet stated: “We are currently following Government advice regarding travel to Italy. Further contact with parents will be made this morning [Tuesday].”
For the latest information for the public, including returning travellers, CLICK HERE.