A DARLINGTON secondary school sent pupils home over coronavirus concerns after returning from a skiing trip in Northern Italy, despite being miles away from the affected area.

Yesterday, pupils from Carmel College who had returned from a residential trip in Falcade were advised to go home and self-quarantine themselves.

At the time, a parent told The Northern Echo that affected pupils had been 'retrospectively' called out of classes and told not to return to school for two weeks.

However, on Wednesday the school confirmed it had reversed its decision to send pupils home after it was determined they had been "far enough" away from the "lockdown" area of the country.

A spokesperson for Carmel College said: "Following initial advice​ from Public Health England we instructed returnees from our College Ski trip who spent a week in Falcade over half term to self-isolate – this was in view of parental concerns and to ensure the welfare of all our pupils and staff.

"We have since been advised by the Health Protection Team in Newcastle (Public Health England) that whilst Falcade is in the region of Veneto, it is far enough away from the “lockdown” area in the south of the region.

"This means that those students should continue as normal unless they experience symptoms such as cough, cold and/or fever.

"If these symptoms are experienced your child should be isolated and you should call 111 and follow their advice.

"This guidance has now also been confirmed by the Public Health Principal at Darlington Borough Council.

"This is an emerging situation and as such the advice can change and I would like to take this opportunity to thank parents for their support and understanding through this difficult process, knowing that they and we have always the welfare of the young people at the heart of everything that we do."

Earlier today, Middlesbrough's Trinity Catholic College revealed it had closed for the rest of the week to undergo a deep clean following concerns over coronavirus despite official guidance advising schools not to close.

Paul Cosford of Public Health England said on the BBC's Radio 4 Today programme: "Schools have to take difficult decisions given the complexity of issues that they are facing.

"What I would say is that our general advice is not to close schools."