FOUR schools and a college have closed due to the coronavirus pandemic - contrary to Government guidelines.

Staff shortages caused by the Government's "social distancing" measures mean many schools have shut.

Dorothy Stringer School in Brighton closed today having originally attempted to stay open for Years 10 and 11.

Blatchington Mill School in Hove will shut its doors to pupils from today due to staff shortages.


Cardinal Newman School in Hove was closed today but will reopen for all except Year 8 and 9 pupils on Thursday.

And Bhasvic college in Hove has suspended all lessons until the Easter holidays.

Dorothy Stringer headteacher Matt Hillier said a number of staff and pupils were self-isolating with mild symptoms.

He decided to close the school today due to teacher shortages.

"Thus far, no one in our school community, children nor staff, has been tested and confirmed as positive for the virus," he said.

"As of tomorrow the school will be closed for the remainder of the spring term for all students. 

"Children should remain indoors during this closure and focus on their education at home.

"They should not be mixing in the local community as this is a bigger risk for the community at large."

All school sporting fixtures have been cancelled until the end of term.

Its annual spring concert has also been postponed.

Blatchington Mill headteacher Ashley Harrold said closing the school was "the "most difficult decision I have made as headteacher".

"The change in advice to self-isolate for 14 days if any member of a household has symptoms of Covid-19 has immediately reduced our staffing levels to an unsafe point," he said.

"Key staff in teaching, pastoral care, and facilities teams are unable to attend work.

"We cannot ensure the school will be safe for everyone on site."

Yesterday King's School closed Year 8 and Year 9 due to staff shortages from coronavirus.

The move comes despite Government insistence schools do not need to close at this stage of the outbreak.

A Cardinal Newman spokesman said "exceptionally challenging" circumstances meant closing the school tomorrow was necessary.

"Schools are being asked to stay open for now," he said.

"Unfortunately, we have a number of staff who need to stay at home following the revised government advice.

"The number of such staff is likely to increase in the next few days and we will soon reach a point where we cannot safely staff the school."

Meanwhile a Bhasvic spokesman said keeping the college on was unsustainable in the short-term.

"Face-to-face delivery of lessons will cease in order that we can facilitate government guidance on social distancing and self-isolation," he said.

"The balance of risk dictates that it is unsustainable to continue to deliver lessons as normal."