TWO school pupils in north Essex have tested positive for coronavirus just weeks before the Government plans to send students and teachers back into the classroom.

Parents of children at Hamford Primary Academy, in Walton, have been sent a letter from headteacher Chris Joy.

It informs concerned parents of two students who had shown positive results for Covid-19 after being tested.

The pair of pupils, who are part of the same family which features a key worker, had not displayed any symptoms and had attended school the week before.

Bosses immediately decided to take a series of precautionary measures to protect the wellbeing of students and staff.

These included sending children at the school home, with the recommendation of booking a test, and contacting parents to give them the same advice.

Staff members who had been working the week before, were also booked in to have tests and a further deep clean was organised.

Addressing parents via the letter, Mr Joy, who joined the school just under two years ago, attempted to ease their concerns.

“The safety of our children, families and community is at the heart of all decisions we make and is our priority,” he said.

Harwich and Manningtree Standard: Education secretary Gavin Williamson Picture: Aaron Chown/PA WireEducation secretary Gavin Williamson Picture: Aaron Chown/PA Wire

Mr Joy told parents the school would remain closed until June 1 when the Education Secretary Gavin Williamson hopes the Government will re-open schools across the country to certain year groups.

This, however, has proved divisive, with many teachers and unions voicing their concerns about re-opening before it is completely safe to do so.

Some have even refused to send their children back, such as one parent who has a child at Hamford Primary Academy, and another at Tendring Technology College.

Speaking anonymously, she said: “In my opinion it is too soon to send children back, especially now this has happened, and my children will not be returning.”

Essex County Council has said it will support schools which have carried out a satisfying health and safety risk assessment and plan to re-open.

The authority, however, will also support school bosses who decide against re-opening.

A spokesman said: “Our position has always been to re-open schools from June 1 in a gradual and phased manner.

“But if schools are either not ready to open, or can only open partially, then we will support the process they have undertaken and the decisions they have made.”

Harwich and Manningtree Standard: Jean Quinn of the National Education UnionJean Quinn of the National Education Union

Jean Quinn, from the National Education Union, said the organisation will advise schools after re-opening plans are established by the Government on May 28.

"This is uncharted territory and a tricky situation, but we are supporting any members who think it is unsafe to return to schools," she said.

"We will make a decision based on the guidance and once headteachers have carried out risk assessments and safety measures."