A NORTH-EAST school is among at least eight in Britain that have closed over coronavirus (COVID-19) concerns, but what's the latest guidance for parents?

On Tuesday, a Middlesbrough secondary school announced it would be closed for the rest of the week over fears that some of its students could have been affected by the disease.

A number of students and staff from Trinity Catholic College in Saltersgill Avenue had recently returned from a skiing trip to Northern Italy as almost 400 cases in the country were confirmed.

Deciding to take the decision close, the school said a number of its students had begun to show mild flu-like symptoms.

Meanwhile, a secondary school in Darlington last night reversed its decision to send students home, who had similarly returned from a skiing trip in Northern Italy.

Carmel College told The Northern Echo that they had determined the students had been "far enough" from the locked down area of the country and were not at risk.

What parents should do 

The government currently advise those who have recently returned from specific areas identifed by the Italian government, which includes: Lombardy (Codogno, Castiglione d’Adda, Casalpusterlengo, Fombio, Maleo, Somaglia, Bertonico, Terranova dei Passerini, Castelgerundo and San Fiorano) and one in Veneto (Vo’ Euganeo), are to self-isolate for two weeks.

Advice from The Department for Education and Public Health England states that students returning from Northern Italy who are not experiencing any symptoms should continue to attend school as normal.

It says, if children are currently well:

  • they are advised to self-isolate only if they develop symptoms
  • they can continue to attend work or education
  • they do not need to avoid contact with other people
  • their family do not need to take any precautions or make any changes to their own activities
  • testing people with no symptoms for COVID-19 is currently not recommended
  • it is useful to always take a mobile phone with them when they go out so that they can contact others if they do become unwell

What are the symptoms to look for?

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses, with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) explaining they usually cause “mild to moderate upper-respiratory tract illnesses”, like the common cold.

Most people get infected with these viruses at some point during their lives, although they usually only last for a short period of time. Symptoms of this virus may include:

  • runny nose
  • headache
  • cough
  • sore throat
  • fever
  • a general feeling of being unwell

What if you need medical help?

The NHS says those who have returned from Northern Italy's "lockdown" areas since February 19 should call 111 for guidance.

Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. Stay indoors and avoid close contact with other people.