PARENTS keeping their children off from a Somerset school have been reassured there is "no known risk" from coronavirus after a pupil was told to self-isolate following a school trip to Italy.

A number of parents have been refusing to send their children to Chilton Trinity School, claiming they have been kept in the dark over developments.

But the Bridgwater school's operations manager Gill Shadwick said parents are being kept in the loop through messages on the school website and phone calls.

She added that there have been no recorded cases of the COVID-10 strain of the coronavirus virus that originated in China and has spread to many other countries.

It is understood a 13-year-old pupil who returned from a school trip to Folgaria, Italy, with a cough and runny nose earlier this month was told to self-isolate as a precautionary measure.

A doctor is said to have attended his family home to take a swab on Wednesday and test results are expected shortly.

Folgaria is in a low risk Category 2 area, which means visitors returning from the area do not need to take any special measures as long as they do not develop symptoms.

One parent keeping their child at home said: "We've been told nothing. I'm keeping my child off until I get further information.

"Other parents are saying the same.

"Not telling us anything leads to rumours dripping out and there's a lot of panic."

Another parent said: "They just tell us, 'We can't comment'.

"People are in the dark.

"My child isn't going to school because of the irresponsible way it's been handled.

"Nobody in their right mind is going to put their child in danger.

"It's in the public interest to keep us fully informed. That's not happening."

Gill Shadwick said: "We're keeping parents up-to-date with the current situation.

"We're in constant contact with parents - there's information on the website and we've e-mailed parents. I'm speaking to parents on the phone.

"The children are not at any great risk. As far as we know there have not been any cases (of coronavirus) in Somerset and the South West. There is no known risk to our students.

"The health and safety of our students is paramount. We're not willing to put our students at risk.

"But we understand the concerns of our parents."

Head teacher James Lamb has posted a message on the school website saying the school has been receiving a "high volume of calls" in connection with the COVID-10 (Coronavirus) - but reassured parents that there have been no confirmed cases in the South West.

The full message is as follows: "Public Health England have confirmed that there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) in the South West.

"I would reiterate the information I sent out on Wednesday that if you are worried about your child’s health please contact NHS 111 for advice.

"We are experiencing a high volume of calls at present. If you are calling to report an absence please follow the standard procedures, if you are calling for updates on COVID-19 we can confirm that these will be given as and when necessary via the website and direct emails.

"We encourage everyone to follow simple basic hygiene measures, which can help prevent virus and colds spread.

"This includes washing your hands regularly with soap and water, wiping down surfaces and using a tissue when sneezing or coughing and throwing it away - the familiar 'catch it, bin it, kill it'.

"For the latest COVID-19 information, always please check out"