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Walsall school pupils self-isolated and tested for coronavirus after Italy ski trip

By Jordan Reynolds | Walsall | Health | Published:

Pupils at a Walsall school are self-isolating and being tested for coronavirus after a ski trip to northern Italy.

An aerial view showing Queen Mary's Grammar School in Walsall. Photo: Google

A total of 44 pupils and six members of staff from Queen Mary's Grammar School went on a ski trip to Folgarida in the Dolomites from February 16 to 22.

The school said "a relatively small number" of pupils have been self-isolating and tested for coronavirus this week but refused to say exactly how many children were staying away from school.

The majority have returned to school as planned.

The news comes after a British tourist on the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan became the first Briton to die from coronavirus, also known as Covid-19.

Meanwhile a Wolverhampton secondary school shut for two days for a deep clean despite having no confirmed or suspected cases of coronavirus.

The Khalsa Academy in Ettingshall informed parents it would close yesterday and today as a precautionary measure due to several students recently visiting Italy. The decision went against advice from Public Health England and the Health Secretary Matt Hancock that schools should only close if coronavirus is confirmed.

No symptoms

Richard Langton, the headmaster at Queen Mary's, said all pupils and staff attended school on Monday as the guidelines were not sent out until Tuesday.

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He said: "We did have a ski trip to northern Italy and have followed national guidelines.

"If pupils and staff are not showing symptoms, they are fine to be in school.

"And if they have any symptoms, however mild, they should self-isolate, so we have asked some students to stay at home.

"We've advised them to call 111 and some of the pupils have been tested. The only tests we've been informed of so far have been negative.

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"Walsall Council issued guidance to schools yesterday saying schools should not be closing even if people are being tested.

"I've corresponded with parents. As far as we're concerned, we're just following the guidelines that have been sent out.

"Everybody attended school on Monday."

Based on Sutton Road, Queen Mary's is a selective state academy for children aged 11 to 18 which is boys only for years 7 to 11 but accepts girls in sixth form.

A spokesman for Walsall Council said: "Walsall schools continue to receive and closely follow communications and guidance from the Department of Education and Public Health England and will update where necessary and if required.

"The public is being signposted to NHS pages the where the latest information and advice is available."

Travellers returning to the UK from northern Italy have been told they may need to self-isolate as part of measures to stop the spread of illness.

Authorities in Italy have reported that the number of people infected in the country grew to 400 and 12 people have died.

Jordan Reynolds

By Jordan Reynolds
Reporter - @jreynolds_star

Senior reporter at the Express & Star.

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