Kids in Year 7 and above told to wear face masks at school to stop spread of mutant Omicron Covid variant

PUPILS in Year 7 and above have been told to wear face masks at school to stop the spread of the mutant Omicron Covid variant.

Children and staff should wear face coverings in communal areas of schools and colleges from Monday – in a bid to curb the spread of the virus.

Secondary school pupils are "strongly advised" to return to wearing face coverings in corridors and assemblies, the Department of Education announced tonight.

And kids who have come into contact with an Omicron contact will be thrown into 10-day self- isolation – potentially causing disruption to learning.

However, no new rules on wearing face masks during lessons and in classrooms have been announced.

The latest Covid crackdown move for schools was exclusively revealed by The Sun last month.

The move to bring back face coverings in school hallways comes as officials examine measures to muzzle infection rates without damaging the economy.

Local public health directors were previously able to tell individual schools in England to put their kids in masks if infection rates are high in their area.

Schoolchildren were made to wear face coverings during the lockdown earlier this year – before the restriction was overturned on May 17.

But with growing concerns over the Omicron variant, the precaution has been reintroduced so kids can still "benefit from classroom teaching."

Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi said tonight: “We will continue to prioritise children’s and young people’s education and wellbeing, making sure education and childcare settings are as safe as possible and children continue to benefit from classroom teaching.

“We are working with education and childcare settings to enhance safety measures where needed, including introducing isolation for 10 days for close contacts of suspected Omicron cases."

Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said the union supports the measures "as a sensible response to the risks posed by the Omicron variant".

But he added: "This worrying situation, however, emphasises the need for better support from the government for the education sector."

The new rules come after Sajid Javid confirmed face masks will be mandatory on public transport and in shops from Tuesday morning.

Boris Johnson made the announcement last night during a press conference as he outlined the new steps Brits must take to battle the latest variant.


The Health Secretary warned that mask flouters could be fined in a bid to halt the spread of Omicron.

Contacts of anyone infected with the variant must also self isolate, and all travellers arriving in the UK must take a PCR test – and quarantine until they get a negative result.

Speaking to Sky's Trevor Philips on Sunday, Mr Javid admitted "we will never defeat" Covid as the Government launched a fresh crackdown against the virus.

He has asked Government vaccine advisers the JCVI to broaden the booster programme, which is currently open to all over-40s.

When asked how mandatory mask-wearing will be enforced, Health Secretary Sajid Javid said: "I do think people will take this more seriously".

Masks have remained compulsory on London's Tube system, but Transport for London figures show only 108 people out of the millions who travel on the Tube have been removed for not wearing face coverings.

But Mr Javid insisted: "Over the last few days, and of course this has been very fast moving, people will have been able to understand the concerns over this new variant.

"They will be concerned not just for themselves but for their friends and family and want to know their Government is taking proportionate action.

"So I think that will encourage people anyway to listen and think about some of he new measures and take them seriously."

He added: "I hope this is something we can remove within weeks."


Meanwhile, a third case of the Omicron Covid variant was identified in the UK.

The person tested positive after travelling to Britain from southern Africa where the variant originated.

The individual is no longer in the UK, but the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) is carrying out urgent testing in areas they visited when they were likely to have been infectious.

This includes Westminster in central London, officials said.

Dr Jenny Harries, UKHSA chief executive, has since warned it is "very likely" further infections will be recorded next week.

She said: "Our advanced sequencing capabilities enable us to find variants and take rapid action to limit onward spread.

"It is very likely that we will find more cases over the coming days as we are seeing in other countries globally and as we increase case detection through focussed contact tracing.

"We are continuing our efforts to understand the effect of this variant on transmissibility, severe disease, mortality, antibody response and vaccine efficacy.

"It's critical that anyone with Covid-19 symptoms isolates and gets a PCR test immediately."

We pay for your stories!

Do you have a story for The Sun news desk?

Email us at [email protected] or call 0207 782 4104. You can WhatsApp us on 07423 720 250. We pay for videos too.

Click here to upload yours.

Click here to get The Sun newspaper delivered for FREE for the next six weeks.

    Source: Read Full Article