Almost 20 UK Schools Are Now In Coronavirus Lockdown
Eighteen schools have been forced to either close or send pupils home over fears of a coronavirus spread.
Following the February half-term break, schools in the UK have had to turn away both staff and pupils who have returned from trips to northern Italy.
From northern England, to Wales, Northern Ireland and Cornwall, pupils and staff have been told not to come to school if they have visited the country, where 11 people have sadly lost their lives.
This is because government advice is to self-isolate if you have visited northern Italy. You can see a full list of the specified areas here.
Out of the list of 18, four schools are closed completely today due to pupils having been on school skiing trips to one of the Italian regions over half term.
These are Cransley School in Northwich, Brine Leas Academy Sixth Form in Nantwich, Trinity Catholic College in Middlesbrough and Tudor Grange Academy Kingshurst in Birmingham.
In a statement posted on their Facebook page, Cransley School explained: "Bormio is part of Lombardy and is now included in the Category 1 countries and areas of concern.
"The current PHE advice is for all pupils and staff returning from Italy to immediately self-isolate, even if asymptomatic, and call NHS 111 to inform of recent travel.
"I ask that you insist on testing taking place. This is the only way that we can ensure that no pupil has been infected."
Meanwhile Brine Leas Academy have explained their closure is due to a "staff shortage". In a statement on their website, a spokesperson for the school wrote: "As a precautionary measure, I asked all of those on the trip to self-isolate today, regardless of symptoms.
"This had the knock-on effect of leaving me with an unexpected staff shortage and I therefore took the decision to suspend the sixth form for 1 day. This closure is not linked to the virus, but due to a shortage of staff."
In Middlesborough, Trinity Catholic College said: "Following a ski trip by pupils and staff from Trinity Catholic College to Northern Italy over the half-term, a small number of pupils and staff began showing mild flu-like symptoms today.
"As a Trust we are advising the School to ensure that the pupils and staff who visited Italy last week self-isolate, regardless of whether they are showing symptoms of being unwell.
"We have taken the decision to shut for a deep clean to ensure we take all precautions to limit the risk of infection, we will reopen on Monday 2nd March."
A further 14 schools have sent pupils home to self-isolate, including Salendine Nook High School in Yorkshire, Newquay Tretherras school in Cornwall and Sandbach High School in Cheshire.
The closures come after chief medical officer, Professor Chris Whitty explained possible contingency plans. He said: "There's a variety of things you need to look at, you look at things like school closures, you look at things like reducing transport.
This morning, Professor Chris Whitty @CMO_England issued updated advice for travellers returning to the UK from specific areas affected by #coronavirus (#COVID19):
Here's a thread on what you need to know about the affected areas and steps to take :arrow_down_small: pic.twitter.com/72AzDq9BdH
- Department of Health and Social Care (@DHSCgovuk) February 25, 2020
"The expectation is not that we will do all these things, the expectation is we will be looking systematically, using the science, at all the building blocks and balancing the effects against costs to society.
"We might want to look at things like should people stay at home with their families in that situation. It's one of the things we would want to think about."
Yesterday, approximately 1,000 people were reported to be in lockdown in a Tenerife hotel after a man has been diagnosed with coronavirus.
Meanwhile, the number of cases in Spain has now reached five, while Switzerland and Croatia have both confirmed cases and France has confirmed a further two, bringing its total to 14.
The number of people in Italy with the virus has now reached 322. As of yesterday, the UK has 13 cases of Coronavirus.
Latest figures show there are 81,229 cases across the globe, with 2,769 deaths reported.
Full list of schools on lockdown
Cransley School, Northwich
Brine Leas Academy, Nantwich
Trinity Catholic College, Middlesborough
Tudor Grange Academy Kingshurst, Birmingham
Schools at which pupils have been sent home:
Crispin School, Somerset
Guernsey's Grammar School
Newquay Tretherras, Cornwall
Torquay Boys' Grammar School, Devon
Hall Cross Academy, Doncaster
Haverfordwest High School, Pembrokeshire
Penair School, Cornwall
Salendine Nook High School, Yorkshire
Sandbach High School, Cheshire
Sydney Russell, Dagenham
YSGOL Friars, Bangor
Banbridge Academy, Northern Ireland
Cambridge House Grammar School, Northern Ireland
Limavady Grammar School, Northern Ireland
It's believed The Holt School in Wokingham has also sent pupils home this week.
Featured Image Credit: PA