Coronavirus fears in UK prompts school to close after students return from Italy ski trip

A top private school in the United Kingdom has temporarily closed over fears the novel coronavirus could spread there. The closure was prompted after a group of students and staff at Cransley School in Northwich, England, returned from a ski trip in northern Italy, which has experienced a surge in coronavirus cases in recent days.

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Some of the students reportedly began showing “flu-like symptoms” in the days after returning from the week-long trip, which took place in Bormio, a town in the region of Lombardy, which has been hit hard with the virus. Twenty-nine students and five staff members went on the trip, according to South West News Service (SWNS), a British news agency.

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All staff and students who attended have since been asked to self-quarantine — regardless if they are experiencing coronavirus symptoms, which have been reported to include fever, cough and shortness of breath. The country’s National Health Service (NHS) reportedly advised the school to have students and staff self-isolate, potentially for two weeks, according to the Northwich Guardian. 

“I understand that there will be a variety of reactions to this decision amongst parents, and I hope that all families will understand the developing situation and the changing and inconsistent advice given to the school,” school Headmaster Richard Pollock said in a statement, according to SWNS.

Cransley School in Northwich, England.

Cransley School in Northwich, England. (SWNS)

“There are a number of pupils and staff who have vulnerable family members and it is the School’s duty of care to put in place the most secure of measures to minimize any possible infection, despite [the] public policy, he continued. “The staff, pupils and families of Cransley are our highest concern, and whilst we understand the impact this may have on the education of the pupils and disruption to working practice of parents, we believe this decision is justified.”

Some of the ski trip participants are being tested for coronavirus, the Northwich Guardian reported.

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The school will be cleaned while the staff and the 180 students are away, according to SWNS.

The news comes after a Washington state school canceled classes and as closed on Thursday after a staff member reported that a family member who had traveled with them internationally became sick and was being quarantined and tested for the novel coronavirus. In a letter sent to Bothell High School families, Superintendent Michelle Reid said that the staff member was also being quarantined at home for 14 days.

Fox News' Alexandria Hein contributed to this report.