Record high Covid rates spark tough new rules for schools


Schools hit by soaring Covid cases are reintroducing face masks in classrooms and other safety measures to help stem the spread of the virus.

It comes as parents across Cheshire East are also being urged to keep children at home for at least five days if someone in their household tests positive. They should also book a PCR test and limit the young person’s ‘social contacts’.

Under the current national guidance, only pupils with coronavirus have to stay off school. It has meant siblings of those who have tested positive have still been mixing with their classmates.

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Cheshire East Council is the latest authority to urge schools to adopt extra precautionary measures.

In neighbouring Staffordshire County Council’s area, many high schools have already reintroduced face masks. Others have looked at bringing back bubbles to keep different classes or year groups apart.

Cheshire East’s advice doesn’t go as far as reintroducing the bubble system, but schools are being encouraged to reduce mixing in assemblies or during other indoor activities.

The move is outlined in a letter sent by the council to all parents of schoolchildren across the borough. Officials say some of the things will be implemented on a school-by-school basis, depending on their infection levels.


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But it comes as the overall coronavirus rate in Cheshire East has hit its highest level since the pandemic began. Areas with particularly high case rates include Ettiley Heath in Sandbach, Wheelock, Alsager, and West Heath in Congleton.

Jacky Forster, director of education, said: “We will continue to monitor the case numbers in schools and other education settings and will step down these temporary measures as soon as infection rates start to reduce.

“We want to emphasise out commitment to minimising disruption in schools. These measures are being introduced so we can ensure the safety of children and staff, maximise attendance, reduce transmission and ensure schools remain open.”

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