Largs Academy and schools around Scotland are to close at the end of the week, and may not reopen until the autumn because of coronavirus, Nicola Sturgeon has said.

A spokesperson for Largs Academy said: "All schools will close on Friday 20 March. There is no need to contact the school at this time. We promise to update you all later today with fuller details."

Academy Rector John Doherty said in a letter to parents: " I understand that this is a challenging time for our school community. Thanks for your continued support, patience and understanding. 

"There is a robust plan in place to ensure that learning resources can be accessed on Show My Homework. In the meantime, some extension work is available for S4, S5 and S6 classes through this platform. Similar work will be available for Sl-S3 by the end of this week."

"My thoughts are with all of our families in the Largs community."

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said her planning assumption was now that schools would close at the end of this week, and she could not promise they would reopen before the summer holidays.

She said the "very difficult" decision would change society and the economy.

However it had been driven by updated scientific advice and the reality on the ground.

Many parents have already started withdrawing pupils on their own initiative.

Ms Sturgeon was speaking after confirming a third death from coronavirus and a rise in the number of known positive cases from 195 to 227.

However chief medical officer Dr Catherine Calderwood said the 227 figure was likely to be a significant underestimate.