Cumbria's director of public health says schools should remain open despite outbreaks of coronavirus – as two leading teachers called for more help from the Government.

Richard Rose Central Academy in Carlisle ordered students to work from home after 30 pupils and more than a dozen staff had either tested positive for the virus or were self-isolating.

Meanwhile, Caldew School, on Carlisle Road in Dalston, revealed a positive coronavirus test in its “school community.” The school said the case affected the Year 10 bubble but the site remains open.

Cumbria’s director of public health, Colin Cox, said that about 20 per cent of schools in the county were dealing with coronavirus cases.

Louise Atkinson, national executive member for the National Education Union and a teacher in Carlisle, said: “We as a union back in June revealed a 10-point plan for education which called for nightingale schools, using village halls, sports halls and so on, so we could spread young people out.

“We asked for more teachers and we asked for an excellent plan for blended learning, not just a legal requirement.

“We were completely ignored.

"As educators we want children in education but we want them to be safe.

“Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) said school-aged children are playing a huge role in transmitting the virus, which is a big risk to students and their families and the wider community.

“The Office for National Statistics says secondary school age pupils have the highest rate of infection.”

Mrs Atkinson is calling for a rota system in secondary schools which would see pupils spend one week working from home followed by one week in school, to limit the number of social interactions.

Graham Frost, National Executive Member and Cumbria Branch Secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers union, is calling for more information from the Government: “It is important for schools to stay open; children have missed out on a lot of education already.

“However, we can only keep schools open if staff are fit and well.

"The Government needs to be very clear about the risks to children and staff, and the rate of contagion.

“We are asking the Government to provide us with the science-informed guidance which enables us as school leaders to continue to make the best, most-informed decisions.”

Mr Cox said he believes that schools should still remain open for now.

“The evidence is that cases in schools are not turning into significant outbreaks," he said.

"Inevitably, there are going to be outbreaks of this sort but from what we are seeing my view is that schools should remain open at the moment.”