Several readers this week called the paper asking if we were aware of coronavirus cases among pupils or staff at schools.

In every case, we had not. No announcement had been made. Confirming these reports, one of which turned out to be a rumour and false, turned out to be frustratingly slow.

In one case, the headteacher wrote to parents only after we had written about cases involving staff at their school.

The reason often cited when we tried to contact the schools - and the reason given by education bosses at the county council who refused to publish a list of schools closed or partially closed - was that the information is "confidential".

This seems to be a case of a rule being over or misapplied.

In normal times, a school might rightly want to protect the identity of a member of staff or pupils who had fallen ill, but during a pandemic, information about the risk of infection might be vitally important to some families with vulnerable members.

The people concerned are unlikely to be identified, let alone singled out, and confirming true reports and ruling out others helps stop rumours spreading.

The Government has often talked about trusting the public, but part of that deal is giving them the facts they need to make informed decisions.