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Co Down school forced to close after battling coronavirus outbreak for more than a week

In a letter to parents, principal Seamus Hanna said the school would be shut for two days

A CO Down school has been forced to close after battling a coronavirus outbreak for more than a week.

Staff and pupils are both understood to have tested positive for the virus at St Colmcille's High School in Crossgar.

In a letter to parents, principal Seamus Hanna said the school had "battled with the spread of Covid-19" for eight days and "despite all our efforts" it "reluctantly" had to shut for two days.

The building is undergoing an "enhanced cleaning process" to ensure it is "completely sanitised before the return of students" on Monday.

"Over the past eight days, we as a school community, have battled with the spread of Covid-19 in an effort to prevent widespread disruption to the eduction of our pupils and to protect the health of all pupils," wrote Mr Hanna.

"I have kept the safety of all within the school community as my first thought each day and my last thought each night.

"Every day we have responded to the growing numbers and have proactively taken steps to slow the spread of the virus.

"We have cooperated with directives from the PHA for mass testing of students and have supported families who have contacted us to confirm positive results.

"Staff have also followed this advice and have taken PCR tests and followed PHA guidelines."

He said closing the school for two days would allow all remaining students who had not yet done a PCR test to get one.

"It is vital that parents forward negative results to us so that we can ensure that all pupils within the school are not carrying this virus."

Mr Hanna also said "it is our hope" that the school can re-open on Monday to a "fuller compliment of students and with a fuller compliment of school staff".

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