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Schools bring back masks as Covid cases soar amongst pupils

7 October 2021, 06:43 | Updated: 7 October 2021, 07:41

Children are being asked to wear face masks to school again.
Children are being asked to wear face masks to school again. Picture: Alamy

By Charlotte Lynch

LBC can reveal headteachers across England are making face masks compulsory for pupils again, in a bid to curb rising Covid cases.

We are yet to hit winter, but LBC has been told that dozens of schools up and down the country are already bringing back measures as the virus spreads amongst pupils.

More than 200,000 schoolchildren missed classes last week due to the virus, up two thirds on the previous week.

The National Education Union say more and more schools across England are bringing back measures like face coverings and social distancing every day.

National Vice President Louise Atkinson told LBC: "We fully support any schools bringing back such measures.

"We were promised improved ventilation. We’re putting people in overcrowded, poorly ventilated buildings and the message at the moment is essentially ‘wash your hands’.

"That’s not sufficient. It hasn’t been sufficient all the way through this crisis and it isn’t now. We need more support to ensure that children are kept in face-to-face education for longer."

Read more: 204,000 pupils absent from England's schools as Covid 'continues to cause havoc'

Read more: 'Harmful' Covid school closures must never happen again, watchdog warns

LBC has seen letters from secondary schools in Leeds and Newcastle, telling parents "regrettably but necessarily", their children must wear masks in communal spaces once again.

Wolverhampton Council has advised all schools to bring them back. Students and staff in, and visitors to, the city's secondary schools are being asked to start wearing face coverings again in communal areas to help prevent the spread of Covid-19.

Councillor Dr Michael Hardacre, Cabinet Member for Education and Skills, said: "We need to do all we can to stop the spread of Covid-19, and the wearing of face coverings has an important role to play in this.

"Face coverings were mandatory in communal areas in secondary schools throughout the spring and summer term and certainly seemed to help keep infections down so, with cases now rising once more, it is sensible for schools to adopt this policy once more."