San Anton school in Mġarr has become the first school in Malta to close its doors because of growing concerns over coronavirus.

The independent school - which teaches both primary and secondary students - sent parents a letter confirming the news on Thursday morning.

In it, head of school Joe Gauci said: "We will be closing as of March 16 for a period of 15 days or until further notice."

He said the school had tested the possibility of providing distant learning with students who have been in quarantine and plan to "implement strategies to address the curricular needs of our students during the currency of school closure".

The school is also asking students to take their books home.

More schools close down

Despite health authorities insisting on Thursday that only those who travelled to affected countries should not return to school, other schools have also closed their doors.

A second school which has brought its Easter or summer break forward is insisting that this was not as a result of coronavirus spread.

St Edwards College in Cospicua told parents in a letter that this move followed "lengthy discussions" with all stakeholders of its community.

The school will be closed as from Friday, until March 17.

"These days will be either made up for as school days on our Easter break or the start of summer break.”

When asked if the move was linked to the ongoing measures taken nationally and globally to prevent the spread of coronavirus, a spokesperson for the school said: “This is not because of the coronavirus. It is in our jurisdiction to change the dates of our school when we want.”

Chiswick House School and St Martin’s College in Birkikara are also closing their doors from next week too. 

“We are opening Thursday and Friday but will be closed from March 16 for 15 days, with the possibility of extending further if we need to. Fifteen days will bring us up to one week before the Easter holidays, so we can decide then what to do,” a spokesperson for both said.  

San Andrea School and St Catherine’s High School followed suit.

Head of School Sue Midolo told parents that St Catherine’s school was shutting down from Friday.

"We are very sorry that this is creating an inconvenience for parents and that we couldn't give advance warning, but I am sure you understand that with the situation as it is developing, we need to act fast so as to limit the spread.”

Meanwhile, San Andrea will close from Friday until March 20. 


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