Back to school: How are pupils being kept Covid-safe?
Students and staff in some parts of England are being asked to wear face coverings again after a rise in coronavirus cases.
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Mask-wearing stopped being compulsory in May, but the government is reserving the right to re- introduce it under its winter plan.
What are the rules about masks in schools?
Face coverings are no longer compulsory in schools in England or Wales, although they are recommended in crowded spaces like school buses.
However head teachers and health officials can ask staff and pupils to wear masks on school premises in response to local circumstances.
Schools in Trafford, Cambridgeshire and West Yorkshire have already reintroduced face coverings.
Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi confirmed that mask-wearing in all English schools could be made compulsory again under the government's winter contingency "Plan B".
How many pupils are missing school because of Covid?
Department for Education (DfE) statistics show that in England in the second half of September:
- 102,000 pupils (1.3%) had a confirmed case of Coronavirus (up 72%, from 59,000 from the previous fortnight)
- 84,000 pupils (1% of pupils) were absent with a suspected case of Covid
- 5,000 were absent because of restrictions to manage a Covid outbreak
- 2,000 were absent because of Covid-related school closures
- 11,000 were isolating for other reasons
Overall, one in 10 students was absent, but in secondary schools, the figure was one in seven - 13.7% of pupils.
Typical pre-Pandemic autumn absence rates were around 4.5%.
In Wales, there have been more than 10,000 cases of Covid among pupils and staff since the start of term.