Principal of Runshaw College gives statement on Covid outbreak and campus closure
The principal of Runshaw College has issued a statement after an outbreak of Covid-19 infected dozens of students and forced the college to close for 10 days.
More than 30 students have reportedly tested positive at the college in Leyland, prompting Public Health England (PHE) to advise that the campus be closed to "limit the spread of the outbreak".
Clare Russell, principal and CEO of Runshaw, said the decision to close the college was "not taken lightly" and followed discussions with Government health advisers and Lancashire County Council.
She said all cases of Covid-19 among the college community were dealt with "swiftly and safely", including two confirmed cases of the Indian variant.
But concern about the potential spread of this variant had led Public Health England to advise the college to close both its Leyland and Chorley campuses to curb transmission.
Ms Russell did not comment on the number of cases that led to the outbreak, but said all students and staff have been urged to get tested. Sources report that "more than" 30 students have contracted the virus.
She added that the outbreak is a "clear reminder" that Covid guidance should still be followed, "in and outside of college".
Full statement from Runshaw College on Covid outbreak
Clare Russell, principal at Runshaw College, said: "We have continued to provide outstanding education to all our students throughout the global pandemic.
"A number of COVID-19 cases were recently reported among the college community and these were swiftly and safely dealt with in accordance with our COVID-secure Risk Assessment.
"However, genetic testing by PHE has identified that some of those affected have the COVID-19 variant first identified in India (VOC-21APR-02), and as a precaution PHE are doing further testing to track the cases and limit the spread of the outbreak.
"We have therefore taken the decision to temporarily close the college campus and move to online learning and working from Friday, May 7.
"We intend to resume to face-to-face teaching on campus from Monday, May 17, although this will remain under review.
"There is currently no evidence to suggest that the identified variant causes more serious illness than other variants.
"Nonetheless, tracking and controlling the spread of this variant is very important from a public heath point of view."
She added: "Following advice from Public Health England and Lancashire Public Health, all students, staff and their households are being asked to take a free PCR test as soon as possible.
"PCR tests can be booked or ordered online via the NHS. This will help us instruct people who need to isolate to do so and help cut the chains of transmission.
"In order to ensure the health and safety of all members of our college community, both campuses will be fully closed until May 17, and during this closure deep cleaning will be carried out.
"The decision to temporarily close the college campus has not been taken lightly but the health and wellbeing of all members of our college community remains our absolute priority.
"The current situation is a clear reminder to everybody that we must all continue to follow COVID-safe control measures at all times, in and outside of college."
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