THE father of a pupil at an East Lancashire school has been diagnosed by their doctor with coronavirus.

Richard Blackburn, head of Whalley Church of England Primary in the Ribble Valley, has told parents that the school will remain open but this will be reviewed daily.

He said cleaning at the school has been stepped up as a result of the GPs Covid-19 diagnosis of the man.

Mr Blackburn has sent out a letter to parents reassuring them that their children are safe to attend.

He said: "As the parent is not in hospital nor over 65, he has not been tested but confirmed the doctor has diagnosed the virus based on the symptoms.

"I have no additional details to give at this point."

Mr Blackburn's letter to parents says: "Many of you may already have heard that one of our parents is now a confirmed case of Covid-19. We send our thoughts and prayers to the family and I know the offers of help and support they have already received are really appreciated.

"Over the past 24 hours, I have contacted the Department for Education, Public Health England and the Local Education Authority for guidance as to how school should respond to this case.

"Their advice is clear that school should remain open at this time and should continue to enforce good hygiene practices. As the proportion of children attending school is still high, this is not considered to be a serious enough situation to necessitate the closure of school.

"After discussions with the chair of governors, it was agreed that the situation will be reviewed each day and the decision for class or whole school closures would be based on our ability to manage the education of the children particularly if staff are ill or are self-isolating. Parents will be informed by 7:45am by text message or on the ParentApp of any closures.

"However, as there is now a confirmed case in the school community, we are putting a few further measures in place:

• The opportunity for before school reading sessions in class will not take place for the foreseeable future.

• If parents need to come in to the school building, they should do so through the front entrance where they will be asked to wipe their hands with a sanitising cloth. Parents should not enter school through their child’s classroom.

• If your child is being picked up from an after school club, parents should wait in outside the school entrance or in the reception area and the children will be delivered by the adult running the club.

• Children in reception class will sit on PE mats, which will be wiped down frequently, rather than on the carpet.

• School will be stepping up their cleaning and all touch areas, such as door handles, will be cleaned regularly.

"School are receiving daily updates from the DFE regarding how schools can manage coronavirus and I will update parents as the advice and the national picture changes."

One parent has taken to Twitter calling for the government to order the closure of schools while the pandemic lasts adding: "I'm not blaming the school. It's completely unfair."

Sarah Callaghan, Lancashire County Council's  Director of Education and Skills, said: "Our priority is always to safeguard the health and well-being of all of Lancashire's residents, including pupils and staff at our schools.

"The guidance we have received from the Department for Health and Social Care, the Department for Education and Public Health England (PHE), and which has been shared with schools in Lancashire, states that schools should not close in these circumstances.

"The current guidance states that even if a case is confirmed, in most cases closure of a childcare or educational setting will be unnecessary, although this decision lies with the school. We have not advised any school in Lancashire to close."