Schoolchildren returned to school this week after public health officials gave the all-clear following a Covid outbreak.

The majority of pupils at Cherry Tree Primary School in Watford were allowed back into school following a visit from an infection control nurse.

The primary school was forced to close on or just before May 26 after a spread of coronavirus cases across year groups.

Head teacher Cheska Tyler said the decision to close was as a result of guidance from Public Health England and Hertfordshire County Council.

She added that the school planned to reopen its doors after the half-term, and pupils were able to return this week.

Ms Tyler said: "We successfully returned to face to face learning this week and it was a pleasure to have the children safely back on site. Our parents have been responsible and have isolated where necessary over half term holidays.

"We still have a small number of children and staff off where they have been advised by the NHS to isolate.

"Throughout this the school has worked extremely closely with Hertfordshire County Council to help them try to track and control the spread of infection and to ensure that our measures are as rigorous as they can be. We have had a visit from an Infection Control Nurse who was pleased with the precautions taken by the school."

Figures from Public Health England showed a rise in the rate of new cases in Watford at the end of May was largely due to the number of cases identified in Leggatts ward, which is where Cherry Tree lies.

Separate figures also showed the most common age group of those testing positive was five to nine-year-olds.

A map suggests the outbreak in Leggatts has been suppressed with Leggatts recording weekly drops of more than 20 cases.

Hertfordshire’s director of public health Jim McManus was invited to share with the Department of Health at a meeting on Wednesday how he and his colleagues had been able to suppress the spread.

Watford recorded one of the biggest drops in Covid rates anywhere in England in the first week of June.

Mr McManus said: "All directors of public health meet regularly with the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) teams to discuss epidemiology and share learning. DHSC teams also meet with all areas where numbers of cases are, or have been rising, to gather and share learning of what works.

"Wednesday’s meeting was part of this process. The purpose of it was specifically to consider learning from multi-agency work in Watford on the recent increase in numbers and the fact that the rise has been curbed so far.

"Everyone agreed that residents of Watford and all the agencies had worked together well and played a part in curtailing this increase. We need residents of Watford to keep playing their part by testing and self-isolating if positive, to keep up the gains we have made from suppressing the very recent rise.

"Please also keep doing the basics – wear a face-covering when required, wash hands regularly, maintain social-distancing and get the vaccine when you can, or are offered it."

Although Watford was commended for controlling the spread, the latest data has shown cases are on the rise again in the town.

There have been at least 77 confirmed cases in Watford since June 1, including 44 between June 6 and 10.

The reason behind the new rise is unknown at this stage.

As of June 8, there were five Covid patients being cared for by West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust.