PEWSEY Vale School is allowing pupils back to school tomorrow (Tuesday) who have just returned from Italy.

Last week the school was branded “highly irresponsible” for going ahead with the ski trip to northern Italy despite the area being a hotspot for the Coronavirus.

A party of children returned this weekend from a week-long trip to the Claviere ski resort in the Piedmont region.

Over the weekend the Foreign and Commonwealth Office stressed that while all British nationals, including those in the quarantined area of Italy, can return to the UK, the advice says those who have been in the lockdown area should self-isolate on arrival back in the UK.

The school is following Public Health England advice, so the pupils are coming back to school.

Head teacher Neil Pritchard has written to parents saying: “I am aware that there have been some changes over the weekend regarding advice for people returning from Italy. I have just spoken to the Department for Education who have clarified that our ski trip was in a category 2 area, as was the airport that we flew from.

“Therefore, we continue to follow all advice and guidelines from Public Health England, the World Health Organisation and the Department for Education.

“This advice states “People who have returned from category 2 specified countries/areas in the last 14 days are advised to stay at home if they develop symptoms. All other pupils and staff should continue to attend school, including their siblings attending the same or a different school (unless advised not to by public health officials).

“Consequently, students and staff will not be isolated unless they develop any symptoms.

“We understand everyone’s concerns regarding the Coronavirus and obviously recognise the importance of keeping our students, staff and the community safe, which is why we are adhering to the advice from experts.”

Mr Pritchard goes on to say that the school will not be able to reply to individual calls on the matter, and suggests parents contact the NHS 111 service if they are concerned.

“We will continue to monitor the situation and if circumstances change, we will respond accordingly,” he said.

Some parents with children at the Wilcot Road academy have already said the trip should have been cancelled.

In a message on a Pewsey Vale social media page, one worried parent said: “Highly irresponsible of them, I’d say.”

Other parents said they would not have allowed their children to go on the trip.

“This is typical selfish attitude of this school and it’s board and governors along with the teachers to destroy the businesses and community life within Pewsey Village,” said one post.

“So stupid!” said another.

“I expect the parents had to pay a fair bit for the trip but I’d rather lose the money than the risk of going. The parents that have let there kids go must be so proud of themselves for not caring about the risks!!I for sure wouldn’t let mine go.”

Last week a Pewsey Vale spokeswoman told the Gazette the school had followed Public Health England guidelines “to the letter”.

She said: “It is very clear. We have followed all the procedures and risk assessments and have followed all the guidelines.”

Marlborough College says it has cancelled a number of trips abroad, saying: “We are following closely all official advice and implementing the guidance on hygiene and travel restrictions. We are reviewing college activities on a regular basis as the fast changing national situation unfolds. Our priority is the health and wellbeing of our College and local community and we will take the actions necessary to achieve that in line with the advice of Health England.”

Italy now has the highest number of confirmed infections outside of China, where the outbreak originated in December.

The UK Foreign Office is advising against “all but essential travel” to large parts of northern Italy after they were put in lockdown.

The strict new quarantine measures affect a quarter of the Italian population and centre on the rich northern part of the country that powers its economy.

Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte also announced the closure of schools, gyms, museums, nightclubs and other venues across the whole country.

The measures will last until April 3