Coronavirus: Schools across North Yorkshire draw up closure plans as government says they should remain open for now

Schools across North Yorkshire have drawn up plans in case they have to close because of the coronavirus.

Monday, 16th March 2020, 11:13 am
Updated Monday, 16th March 2020, 11:14 am

County council education chiefs have said they are trying to minimise the impact of the Covid-19 virus outbreak - whilst preparing for a "reasonable worst case scenario."

It comes after Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Friday things should carry on as normal for now.

Schools across North Yorkshire have drawn up plans in case they have to close because of the coronavirus.Photo: Getty.

Stuart Carlton, director of children and young people’s services at North Yorkshire County Council, said school leaders have been given the latest medical advice.

He said: “All schools have been alerted to guidance from both Public Health England and the Department for Education.

“This has included links to Public Health England information posters on hygiene, and specific guidance for educational settings, including those who have recently travelled, or are currently planning to travel overseas."

The council's chief executive Richard Flinton added: "Understandably this is a continuously evolving and fast moving situation – which is why the agencies are prioritising planning and responding to it as the public would expect.

"While we do not expect it, we are planning for a reasonable worst case scenario so we are as prepared as possible should that be needed."

He added: "In North Yorkshire we have well established, tried and tested partnership working practices which help us to manage the impact of very significant challenges and issues and to focus our joint resources where they are needed most.

"By continuing this approach, we have the best possible chance of minimising impacts on our residents which is our shared single most important goal."

Mr Flinton also said a web page has been set up to give schools advice on how they can help stop the spread of the virus.

He said: “With this support and guidance in mind we will support schools to put in place appropriate plans to manage any potential impact of COVID-19 on their establishment.

“The detail of these plans will cover how they are planning for – and will respond to – all potential impacts. They will require dynamic management due to the quickly changing environment we are all working in.”

He also gave hygiene tips for everyone to follow.

"Everyone has a part to play in helping to reduce the spread of this virus and simple things like washing your hands regularly for 20 seconds with soap and warm water, using hand sanitisers and sneezing or coughing into a tissue or your elbow remain key practical measures," he said.

Visit www.gov.uk/coronavirus for the latest information from the government.

By Jacob Webster, Local Democracy Reporter