Coronavirus case closes Wirral school

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Hilbre High School West Kirby, Wirral was closed when a pupil’s parent contracted coronavirus. Pic © Google Maps

Children have been sent home from a school in West Kirby after a pupil’s parent tested positive for coronavirus.

The head teacher of Hilbre High today made the decision to close the institution, as it was revealed that the infected parent had attended the school yesterday, before it was known they contracted the virus.

Wirral’s Arrowe Park Hospital is currently housing patients who have tested positive for the illness in isolation, however, Wirral Public Health has confirmed that the case is a resident who became infected whilst in Italy.

Dr Will Welfare of Public Health England North West said: “This case is not linked to the repatriated guests who are currently in the Arrowe Park Hospital facility and I’d like to reassure people that the risk to the general public remains low.”

Hilbre High headmaster, Mark Bellamy, issued a letter explaining why he took the decision to close the school entirely until at least Friday.

The letter read: “As a precaution, we are closing Hilbre High School today. I have come to this decision to allow our school community to move forward and ensure that the school is clean for all of our staff and students.”

Mr Bellamy accepted that this does not necessarily align with the current advice from the Chief Medical Officer, as he said: “I can confirm that we have not been asked to close by the local authority or Public Health England.”

YouTube: The Telegraph

The school has also recently returned from taking pupils on a ski trip to Northern Italy – one of the centres where there has been a more intensive outbreak of the virus. Mr Bellamy’s letter stated: “No student or member of staff who went on the ski trip has tested positive for coronavirus. Last week, I chose to keep the school open following advice from the government and Public Health England.

“Today, as I believe this confirmed case directly impacts on my students and staff, it is for this reason I am closing the school.”

In a statement from Wirral Council, Director of Public Health, Julie Webster, said: “Wirral Council is working with Public Health England (PHE) and local health colleagues to do everything we can to stop the virus spreading and ensure the people of Wirral are protected.”

The Arrowe Park patient who is infected with the respiratory illness has been transferred to a specialist unit and Hilbre High School is expected to reopen on Friday March 6th.

About Louise Jamison, JMU Journalism