After several weeks of closure, schools across the country are reopening their doors from today.

Some have raised concerns about the "big bang" approach by sending both secondary and primary school pupils back on the same day.

But can you be fined for not sending your child back?

Latest guidance states that schools must continue to provide work remotely for children who are forced to self-isolate, or have received a positive Covid test.

But what are the rules for those who want to continue working this way, or don't feel comfortable sending their child back to school?

Here is the most recent guidance and what it says about keeping your child from school, when they otherwise could go back.

Can I be fined for not sending my child back?

Yes, the guidance states that it is now mandatory for all children and students in primary, secondary school and college from today.

It means that when your school gives the go-ahead for your child to return, you have a "legal duty" to ensure this takes place unless your child has tested positive for Covid, or has to self-isolate.

The rules warn parents choosing not to send their child back can be each penalised - facing fines of £60, rising up to £120 by your local authority.

The guidance states: "Local authorities and schools have a range of legal powers to enforce attendance if a child or young person misses school without a valid reason.

"There is not a corresponding legal duty for post-16 education, but if a young person fails to attend their college may believe they have left the course."

What if I am uncomfortable sending my child back?

Although it is a legal requirement, the government guidance says parents concerned should discuss any issues with the school or college directly.

It says: "We know some parents will be feeling anxious about their children returning to school or college.

"If you have concerns about your child attending, you should discuss these with your school or college.

"They should be able to explain ways they are changing things to reduce risks."

What does Essex County Council say on schools return?

Essex County Council has put in place increased community testing capacity so pupils could take the first of these three LFTs in advance of their return to school or college.

If schools decide to use this option, the second and third tests would then need to be taken on the school site three to five days apart.

Parents and carers will be sent specific instructions from their child’s school or college about what they need to do and are encouraged to speak to their setting if they have any questions or concerns.

Testing is voluntary and will not be done unless consent has been given.

It is also not a determining factor for whether pupils are able to return.

However, it is something that is being strongly encourage so that potential transmission of the virus within the school community is reduced.

Ray Gooding, Essex County Council’s Cabinet Member for Education, said: “We know how eager schools and colleges are to see children and young people back in the classroom. By increasing our community rapid testing capacity, schools will have greater flexibility in terms of how they are able to fulfil the Government guidance.

“If schools take up the offer to encourage their pupils to have a rapid test in advance of March 8, this will help prevent pupils with symptoms spread the virus within schools when they return and make arrangements for subsequent testing in schools less onerous.”