Students should wear masks in class to stop spread of Covid when they return to school, unions say

ALL school kids should wear masks in their lessons to stop the spread of Covid-19 when they return to class, school bosses say.

As it stands, kids in year seven and above are "strongly advised" to cover their mouth and nose in class – unless they have an exemption.


But now, school-age kids – most of whom cannot get jabbed – could be forced to wear masks all day to stop the spread of the Omicron variant in schools.

The calls from unions come as a string of hugely positive studies show Omicron IS milder than other strains, with the first official UK report revealing the risk of hospitalisation is 50 to 70 per cent lower than with Delta.

Covid booster jabs protect against Omicron and offer the best chance to get through the pandemic, health officials have repeatedly said.

The Sun's Jabs Army campaign is helping get the vital extra vaccines in Brits' arms to ward off the need for any new restrictions.

And now, union bosses have called on Boris Johnson to urge all school-aged kids – so all over fives – to wear masks as another way to slow the spread of the Omicron strain.

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Joint general secretary of the National Education Union Kevin Courtney told the i paper: "As Covid infection rates remain high and most children are not vaccinated, Boris Johnson needs to put in place mitigations if significant disruption to education is to be avoided.

"Measures such as ventilation, air filtration, mask wearing in classrooms and isolation of very close contacts are needed to ensure schools and colleges stand the best chance of limiting infection rates of staff and students – and thereby reduce disruption.

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"Some of these are measures such as mask wearing are already happening in Scotland and Wales."

The PM is "absolutely determined" to keep every school in Britain open amid spiralling cases of the Omicron variant.

But miserable headteachers’ unions bosses claim a lack of staff due to Covid self-isolation means kids might have to go back to computer-based learning at home.

In a nightmare move for working parents, remote teaching could be put in place without any country-wide lockdown restrictions mandating it, they warned.

Some schools have already sorted out worst-case-scenario plans should too many teaching staff be sick or self-isolating.

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Kids have been sent home armed with textbooks and laptops just in case they do their own self-prescribed shutdown.

Alternative plans would see only pupils in years 11 and 13 allowed to stay in the classroom – with everyone else sent away.

Any disruption to teaching is likely until at least Easter – and retired teachers are being urged to return to work to help fill in.

General Secretary of the headteachers’ union ASCL Geoff Barton told The Daily Mail: "Schools should be the very last thing that closes in any further restrictions. But words aren’t enough.

"The Government must back up this aim with material support to minimise transmission of the virus. 

"Otherwise the danger is that there simply won’t be enough staff available to keep schools fully open."


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