RECEPTION children have been forced to stay away from class after a confirmed case of coronavirus at Merley First School.

The case was confirmed yesterday afternoon after a group of Reception pupils and parents visited the Reception classroom for an hour on Monday.

The school, near Wimborne, is remaining open but all Reception staff and children within the school's 'Reception base' were unable to attend school on Wednesday.

However, Public Health England said Reception students and staff can return on Thursday apart from one pupil.

A letter sent to parents last night said: "We appreciate how disappointed the children will be to not come back into school, as they had settled so brilliantly today. We are equally disappointed but must prioritise the health and safety of all our families and will write to you again when we have more information from Public Health England."

It went on: "Following initial advice from Public Health England, the school is remaining open to all pupils and staff, with the exception of those who were in contact with the confirmed case for the hour.

"The remaining pupils within the base will be unable to attend until correct staffing levels can be implemented due to all Reception staff being asked to self isolate as they were in contact with the confirmed case.

"We are awaiting further guidance from Public Health England on the full implications of time scales involved with close contact and self isolation. Our next steps of reopening the Reception base will be communicated when guidance has been received."

The letter said the Reception base was fully cleaned after school on Monday and further advice will be taken on additional measures that may need to be taken.

"If you have siblings in the school they can continue to come to school as they did not have contact within the Reception bubble. Thank you so much for your understanding during these challenging times."