Gloucestershire schools ‘cut short’ northern Italy ski trip due to coronavirus

Two Gloucestershire schools on a joint ski trip to northern Italy are preparing an immediate return to the UK after a spike in the number of coronavirus cases.

Pupils at Henley Bank High School in Gloucester and Five Acres High School near Coleford left the UK on March 6.

They were staying in Claviere in the Piedmont region, near the French border, which is currently on lockdown after more than 350 people tested positive for coronavirus.

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It is not known if anyone on the trip has been affected by the virus but, in a post on the school’s Facebook page, staff at Five Acres High School said “the situation” in Italy has “developed significantly” and so the trip will have to be “cut short”.

They are planning to return to leave the ski resort today (March 11) and return to the UK tomorrow (March 12), where they will all be placed in self-isolation as a precaution.

The schools' ski trip has been cut short because of coronavirus. Credit: PA

In a letter to parents, Mr Nash, who is the headteacher at Henley Bank High School, said the “safety of the whole school” was paramount.

A nationwide emergency was declared in Italy after the virus spread from the its northern regions to other parts of the country, which has the highest number of coronavirus deaths outside of China.

The total number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Italy is creeping towards 10,000. Credit: AP

Will Smith, chief executive of the Greenshaw Learning Trust which runs both schools, said: "The safety and wellbeing of our staff and students is our highest priority.

"We receive, and act on guidance from Public Health England, the Department for Education and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office for all of our school trips.

"In line with this advice, students from the Trust’s schools have recently been on a ski trip to Claviere in Northern Italy. If any students or parents have concerns they should contact the school directly."

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