Secondary school pupils in England will once again have to wear face coverings in the classroom as the Government battles to control the spread of the Omicron virus

Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi said face coverings would be required until 26 January.

The wearing of masks is not a legal requirement, but Ministers expect schools to follow the guidance, which also applies to teachers and support staff

He said:

I’m looking forward to welcoming pupils back next week to continue their face-to-face learning, which is so important for their education and wellbeing.

There is no doubt that the Omicron variant presents challenges but the entire education sector has responded with a Herculean effort, and for that I thank each and every one of you

“The prime minister and I have been clear that education is our number one priority. These measures will bolster our support to schools as we do everything in our power to minimise disruption.”

Teaching unions broadly welcomed the Government’s move on masks.

Paul Whiteman, general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers, said: ‘Reintroducing face masks in secondary classrooms appears to be a sensible move, given the circumstances.’


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