Council leaders have called for the power to close schools or nurseries that have new clusters of Covid-19.
The Local Government Association (LGA) also said schools should be able to make their own decisions about reopening in consultation with councils, for example if they are in communities where there is a higher risk of the virus.
The LGA is calling on the Government to publish the scientific evidence that underpins advice to reopen schools.
Cllr Judith Blake, chair of the LGA’s Children and Young People Board, said: 'The safety of staff, parents and families is absolutely paramount.
'Councils need to be able to close provision where testing indicates clusters of new COVID-19 cases and it is vital that schools have the resources to provide staff with necessary protective equipment, as well as soap and hand sanitizer for cleaning.'
Some councils have also warned that schools should re-open 'safely' rather than 'quickly'.
Cllr Margaret Harvey, cabinet member for children’s services at Knowsley Council, said: 'Our position in Knowsley is clear – schools will re-open when it is safe to do so.'