A primary school has temporarily closed after a number of coronavirus cases were identified within the school.

The head teacher at Cherry Tree Primary School in Watford informed parents this week of the closure following guidance from public health experts.

Cheska Tyler says the school in Berry Avenue will remain shut for the rest of the week, with pupils not scheduled to return until after half-term.

In a statement to the Observer, Ms Tyler said: "The safety of our community is our absolute priority. There have been a number of coronavirus cases linked to one class which are now spreading across sibling groups.

"As a precaution and as a result of the guidance given by Public Health England and the Local Authority, we have taken the decision to move our remaining bubbles to remote learning.

"This is based on public health grounds due to the rapid transmission and the possibility of further transmission."

Cherry Tree Primary School, Watford. Credit: Google Street View

Cherry Tree Primary School, Watford. Credit: Google Street View

A spokesperson for the Inclusive Multi Academy Trust, which runs Cherry Tree, said the school was not aware if any of the cases were linked to the Indian variant - which Watford's mayor Peter Taylor confirmed last week had been identified in the town.

Ms Tyler continued: "Our remote learning was highly effective during previous lockdowns with multiple daily live learning and planned curriculum learning. We have initiated our Critical Worker and Vulnerable school for our families in need of this. Both provisions were up and running immediately after communication of the transition.

"We urge our parents to continue to be vigilant during this time and to follow the guidelines set out by the government to help us continue to maintain the highest level of safety for our school and the wider community.

"We expect the school to be fully open from Monday 7th June, the first day back after Half Term. We would like to thank our parents for being overwhelmingly supportive in this decision and are grateful for their quick response."

Cheska Tyler, head teacher at Cherry Tree Primary School. Credit: Inclusive Multi Academy Trust

Cheska Tyler, head teacher at Cherry Tree Primary School. Credit: Inclusive Multi Academy Trust

Watford's Covid rate has stabilised in recent days with 34 cases (of any variant) identified in the seven days to May 21, according to the most up-to-date figures published by Public Health England.

This represents a drop in three cases on the seven days prior to May 14, but the town continues to have one of the highest Covid rates in the south of England, and 39th highest out of around 300 local authorities in England.

However, Watford's current infection rate of 34.2 is more than ten times less than England's Covid capital, Bolton, where the infection rate stands at 452.1 cases per 100,000 population.

In light of the new variant and general increase in cases over the last month, Mayor Peter Taylor said on Monday it is "really important" residents do what they can in order to keep Covid "under control" in Watford.

He said this can be done by taking the vaccine, including both first and second doses, keeping outside when meeting friends "as much as possible", and socially distancing and wearing a mask when in indoor public spaces.