Letchworth school ‘very sorry’ that Italy ski trip was cut short amid coronavirus lockdown

PUBLISHED: 13:39 17 March 2020 | UPDATED: 15:39 18 March 2020

Fearnhill has apologised to pupils after they were forced to return early from Northern Italy last week. Picture: Google Street View

Fearnhill has apologised to pupils after they were forced to return early from Northern Italy last week. Picture: Google Street View


Fearnhill School in Letchworth is ‘very sorry’ that pupils had to return from their long-awaited ski trip to Northern Italy after only 48 hours.

The school came under heavy fire online after sending 19 pupils and two staff members to the Prato Nevoso ski resort, in the Piedmont region of Northern Italy, only hours before the country was forced into total lockdown.

A spokesperson for the school told The Comet: “We are very sorry that the pupils and staff who embarked on the trip had to return early in the light of revised government guidance.

“The school had acted in good faith by following the very latest advice at the time of the trip from central government, the Department of Education and Public Health England – but regrettably this advice changed during the trip.

“We are currently working very closely with Hertfordshire County Council, the Department of Education and PHE for the latest updates and advice to ensure we are doing all that we can to protect our school community from coronavirus.”

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The 19 pupils and two staff members remain in self-isolation this week, following guidance from PHE that travellers returning from Italy should be quarantined for 14 days as a precautionary measure. The pupils are being provided with online learning resources so as not to lose out on study time.

A Fearnhill spokesperson reiterated on Monday that there is “no need” for parents to keep pupils away while lessons continue – though the school also confirmed that those who wish to self-isolate would “not be fined.”

“We would not encourage non-attendance, but any parents with concerns are encouraged to speak to the headteacher before making any decision,” the school said.

Headteacher Ms Ellis said to parents: “In a school of nearly 500 students and 70 staff, it is to be expected that there will be some seasonal illness.”

“If your child either has a high temperature – 37.8 degrees Celsius or above – or a new, continuous cough then you should keep them at home for 14 days.”

Fearnhill has currently suspended all trips, sporting fixtures and visits as a precautionary measure, as well as postponing the Year 7 and Year 10 parents’ evenings.

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