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Public Health England - 26th February

Reference: Public Health England – Priory update 2

We have received a number of follow-up comments in relation to our first Public Health England (PHE) update, as circulated last night. We will attempt to address as many as possible of those queries here, as well as provide you with the latest information we have from the government.

You will be aware that the Priory Federation’s half-term ski trip took students to Aprica in northern Italy. The party returned to the UK on 22nd February. At 9am yesterday (Tuesday 25th February), the government extended its coronavirus (COVID-19) advice to include this region of Italy for the first time.

PHE guidance to schools in our situation is to remain open; and not to send home students or staff who took part in the trip. Aprica is in Italy’s ‘Category 2’ zone and not in ‘Category 1’ (ie those towns near Milan which are under quarantine). The resort is more than 100km from the nearest of those towns. Our students made the journey from, and back to, the UK by coach.

PHE advice to anyone who has visited a ‘Category 2’ area, such as Aprica, remains as follows:
“If you have returned from northern Italy since 19th February and develop symptoms, however mild, you should stay indoors at home, avoid contact with other people and call NHS 111. You do not need to follow this advice if you have no symptoms. If you are currently well, you can continue to attend work or education. You do not need to avoid contact with other people.”

The relevant section of the PHE website can be found here: Public Health England. For ease of reference, the ‘Category 1 and 2’ zones in Italy can be found on PHE’s map of northern Italy.

The Department for Education today issued additional guidance directly to schools:

“Advice for those who have travelled recently in a group, such as a school trip

There is no need to manage returning groups any differently [to PHE guidance]. Pupils, students and staff returning from trips to [northern Italy] should follow the same advice.”

Clearly, we are asking students, families and staff to remain vigilant and aware throughout this period. PHE says coronavirus presents as: “Flu-like symptoms including a fever, a cough, or difficulty breathing. The current evidence is that most cases appear to be mild.”

Additional information can be found on this NHS website:

We have no doubt that the situation will continue to evolve on a daily basis; equally, we will continue to pass on information to you as soon as it is received from central government.

Mr R Reeve
Director of Welfare

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