Schools: Masks back in communal areas to combat Omicron variant

Education: Secondary / Sun 28th Nov 2021 at 05:15pm

SCHOOLS have been told to reintroduce masks in communal areas for staff and pupils in Year Seven and above because of concerns over the Omicron variant of Covid reports TES.

The new recommendation came in an email sent out to heads today following a national government press conference about the new variant on Saturday.

The DfE email says: “Face coverings should be worn in communal areas in all settings by staff, visitors and pupils or students in year 7 and above, unless they are exempt. 

“Pupils or students (in year 7 or above) should continue to wear face coverings on public and dedicated school transport, unless they are exempt. “

The email adds that the department had discussed this update with Association of School and College Leaders, NAHT school leaders’ union and the Confederation of School Trusts and decided that it would be “helpful to issue today rather than wait until Monday”.

It is unclear from the email when the recommendation comes into effect.

The DfE email also tells schools that current guidance on contact tracing and isolation remains in place. But adds that in addition to these, any suspected or confirmed close contacts of those with the Omicron variant will be asked to isolate for 10 days, regardless of vaccination status or age. 

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