HOLMES Chapel Comprehensive School is insisting students or staff stay out of school if they, or someone they have close contact with, is returning from a high-risk location for coronavirus.

The school issued the advice on its website as headteacher Denis Oliver thanked parents for their support and co-operation

Mr Oliver said: “As things stand HCCS and HC6F remain open and operating as normal.

“If anything changes we will continue to update the message on the school website daily.

“We have had a number of questions about plans to close the school. At this stage, the advice from the Department of Education supported by Public Health England, is that schools should remain open.

“If this changes for any reason we will take all available steps to keep families informed. We have no plans to close the school at this stage.

“During the past two weeks we have been working with families who have travelled abroad recently or who are in close contact with people who have.

“As you can imagine, the return from February half term, when many of our students have been away on holiday, left us with lots of different scenarios to consider.

“Thank you to everyone concerned for giving us the full breakdown of where they have been so we could get the best advice available.

“The safety of students and staff is our priority and this has been a really busy piece of work to carry out.

“In some instances we have asked students to stay at home until we can take advice.

“In all cases parents have been happy to comply, and we have been able to resolve issues speedily.

“We will insist on students or staff staying out of school if they, or someone they have close contact with, is returning from a high-risk, category one location.

“We will not allow them to return to school until Public Health England confirms it is safe for them to do so.

“For further advice regarding overseas travel follow gov.uk/guidance/travel-advice-novel-coronavirus.”

The school has launched its Clean Hands - Safe Hands campaign aimed at trying to reduce the risks around the transmission of harmful germs and viruses which cause common illnesses like colds and flu.

Mr Oliver added: “This follows the latest guidance from the UK Government and the NHS. Posters have been placed in corridors and toilets throughout the school.

“Staff and students have been shown a short video clip about how to wash our hands properly.

“Developed by the NHS, the video lasts around 45 seconds. It should take around 20 seconds to wash our hands, a similar length of time to singing Happy Birthday.

“We have also set up 10 new hand hygiene stations at locations around the school. We will continue to locate more stations as more dispensers become available.

“In line with the guidance, we have also focused on the Catch it, Bin it, Kill it campaign to deal with coughs and sneezes providing every classroom with posters and tissues.

“We understand this is a difficult and worrying time for everyone, students, parents, staff and members of our wider community.

“We have set up an email address specifically to deal with concerns, questions or comments about the current situation. Please contact us direct on healthyhands@hccs.info”

The process of recruiting a new executive headteacher, following Mr Oliver's decision to retire at the end of this academic year, has begun.

The process is being led by Christina Burgess, chairman of governors, and is hoped to be concluded by the end of April.