Coronavirus fears allayed after Limerick school students return from skiing in Italy

Donal O'Regan

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Donal O'Regan

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donal.oregan@limerickleader.ie

Coronavirus fears allayed after Limerick school students return from skiing in Italy

The Glenstal boys were in Trentino, Italy - over 200kms away from where the Department of Foreign Affairs advises people not to travel to

NO Glenstal Abbey students have required testing for the coronavirus after returning from a skiing trip in Italy 

The group of second years came home on Sunday. Following a query from the Limerick Leader, Fr Martin Browne, headmaster of Glenstal Abbey School, confirmed they had a group of students skiing in Italy last week.

"It is understandable that there would be concern in some quarters about the implications of this. The vast majority of cases of coronavirus in Italy have occurred in the regions of Lombardy and the Veneto. Our students were based in a resort further north, in Trentino," said Fr Martin.

The headmaster continued: "The current advice from the Department of Foreign Affairs counsels against travel to and from a group of towns in Lombardy. All of these towns are more than 200 km away from the resort where our students were skiing. Local authorities have restricted public events and travel in a number of regions but not in the one where our students were skiing."

Fr Martin said they consulted the HSE and no-one from the trip required testing for the virus. 
"On the basis of all of this, we have not considered temporary closure or sending groups of students home," said Fr Martin.  

Boarding schools, like any residential environment, have to be particularly careful when it comes to infection control and management, he said. 

"They are also very much a minority in Ireland and so we in Glenstal have been carefully noting the advice of the British Boarding Schools Association over the past few weeks, so as to have the best advice possible for our kind of school.

"Along with this, we have, of course, been monitoring the advice of the Departments of Education and Foreign Affairs, as well as that of the HSE," said Fr Martin.

Glenstal Abbey School has updated all of their parents and staff about the situation. 

"We have been reminding everyone of the HSE's advice that the most important action we can take to protect ourselves from Covid-19 is regular hand-washing and good respiratory hygiene.

"Posters provided by the HSE to this effect are in place all around the school and hand sanitiser has been made available at school reception for all visitors and near the school refectories," concluded Fr Martin.