THE leader of Clackmannanshire Council says schools will remain open for the time being and services will be provided as usual – amid the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.

Ellen Forson said the local authority would deal with any issues as and when they arise, but would otherwise continue to run like it is business as usual.

And if any issues do come up, steps have already been taken to mitigate any potential effect Covid-19 may have on council services.

Coronavirus, or Covid-19, is the illness caused by a new strain of coronavirus first identified in Wuhan city, China.

Symptoms include a dry cough and a high temperature and its impact is generally more severe in people with weakened immune systems, older people and those with long term conditions.

It's believed the virus is spread from person to person through droplets in coughs and sneezes – though this remains unconfirmed.

Across the globe, governments and local authorities have been working to manage the spread of the virus.

Speaking about the way Clackmannanshire Council plans to deal with the outbreak of the virus, Cllr Forson said: "We're intending to keep all council services running as normal, for as long as possible."

When asked about schools specifically, Cllr Forson told the Advertiser: "We're going with the national advice, which is to keep schools open.

"Obviously, that advice is changing on a regular basis, so we'll wait to get updated.

"If there's any incident with a school, we would take stock of the situation.

"Dunblane shutting for the day to get deep cleaned, for example – we would react in a similar way.

"But for the time being, our schools will be remaining open."

Should schools require to shut at any point, Cllr Forson said contingencies are already in place to ensure pupils can carry on with their studies at home.

She said: "[There's been] a lot of good work with our digital learning team, setting up procedures for working at home.

"All schools are ready with Google Classroom to keep things going, so we're well placed to keep schools going."

And while the plan is to keep other council services running as usually, Cllr Forson said: "Obviously, that will depend on how things develop; there may come a time when services are prioritised."

But in an upbeat tone, she said: "Clacks Council has a good track record in managing community issues.

"Our incident management team is meeting regularly; elected members met this morning to talk about putting steps in place for urgent decision making if required."

And the council leader's advice to Wee County residents worried about Covid-19 was simple: "Stay calm, consult reliable and official sources of information – such as NHS Inform and the council website."

And she added: "Use common sense."