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Welbourn students return early from Italy ski trip amid coronavirus concerns

A coach-load of students has set off back to the UK today (Monday), after their ski trip to Courmayeur in Italy was cut short.

Students of Sir William Robertson Academy have seen their ski trip to Italy shortened after regional authorities took the decision to close the ski lifts in Aosta Valley.

After setting off on the afternoon of Saturday, March 7, all of the pupils and staff arrived "safe, well and in good spirits" at the resort yesterday.

Sir William Robertson Academy (31161100)
Sir William Robertson Academy (31161100)

As of Friday, March 6, there have only been two diagnosed cases of coronavirus in the Aosta Valley region.

A letter sent to parents by headteacher, Mark Guest, said: "As Courmayeur is close to the French border, alternative skiing options in France were considered, but had to be discounted because the insurance would not cover skiing in another European country and the ski instructors could also not operate in another domain.

"As it was clear that our pupils would not be able to ski during their time in Italy – and given that any other activities had not been risk-assessed and parents’ consent had not been obtained – we reluctantly took the decision that the trip should return to the UK at the earliest opportunity, setting off at lunchtime today (Monday)."

The trip had been organised with Interski, a company that the school has used successfully before.

The letter continued: "In the run-up to the trip, the school had been carefully monitoring the developing situation regarding coronavirus in Italy. In addition to receiving and acting upon the daily update from the Department for Education, the school had been checking hourly the Foreign Office Travel Advice for the Aosta Valley and the guidance from Public Health England.

"In addition, I raised a specific question with regard to our trip with the Department for Education’s coronavirus Helpline. No restrictions had been placed on travel to the Courmayeur/Aosta Valley area and that position still remains the same.

"We look forward to welcoming the pupils and staff back to school from the ski trip. Understandably, they will be disappointed that they have been unable to ski and will be tired from a long journey.

"As a school we shall follow all of the guidance from government and Public Health England on returning travellers."

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