MORE than 14 schools across East Lancashire have sent children home to self-isolate, less than two weeks after the new term began.

In some cases, where one pupil has tested positive for coronavirus, whole year groups have been told not to return to the classroom, with some advised to stay away until September 22.

However, parents have spoken of their confusion particularly where they have more than one child attending the same or even different schools.

One parent, whose children both attend Witton Park Academy in Blackburn which last week sent years 8 and 9 home, said: “My son was sent home to isolate for 14 days, yet they expect my daughter to still be in school even though they live in the same house, because she has no symptoms.

“Where is the sense in that? What if my son has come home but does not have any symptoms, but has actually contracted the virus and my children are in direct contact at home and then my daughter has to go to school then passes it on before showing any symptoms? I cannot get my head around it at all.”

Official guidance from the Department for Education states that if anyone in a school becomes unwell with a new, continuous cough or a high temperature, or has a loss of or change in, their normal sense of taste or smell, they must be sent home and self-isolate for at least 10 days, and arrange to have a test.

But despite parents’ praise for schools and staff - who have been under pressure to put extra measures in place for the autumn term - they are concerned that allowing the siblings of those children self-isolating to continue to attend will place other pupils at risk.

One parent, who did not wish to be named, said: “They are great at their job and the school is brilliant, however my concern is how can one sibling be sent home and the other be expected to still be in school?

“I think if one child is sent home then their sibling should be also, to reduce the risk of it spreading further. Not all children are symptomatic so we cannot tell if those sibling are carriers or have the virus.”

Another parent, whose children attend The Hollins School in Accrington, said: “Hollins year 11 have been sent home for a confirmed Covid case, yet siblings in another year have to still go. How the heck does that work?”

Another added: “Who is doing the childcare when younger kids get sent home? It’s not going well this get back to school and work thing is it?”

The DfE has worked closely with Public Health England and NHS Test and Trace to ensure they are doing all they can to minimise the potential risks of spread.

A spokesman for the DfE said: “We ask that schools recommend to their pupils and staff who feel unwell that they get tested if they develop one or more of the main coronavirus symptoms; or they are recommended to get tested by a healthcare provider. If a child is tested because they are unwell, they should stay off school until they receive a result. If a child (or staff member) develops one or more of the main coronavirus symptoms, they should be tested and stay off school until they have a result.

“Schools should ask parents and staff to inform them immediately of the results of a test and follow the guidance.

“If a positive case is confirmed, swift action will be taken to ask those who have been in close contact with them to self-isolate.

“Public Health England’s local health protections teams and local authorities will support and advise schools.

“Based on that advice, schools must send home those people who have been in close contact with the person who has tested positive, advising them to self-isolate for 14 days since they were last in close contact with that person when they were infectious.”