County secondary school students asked to wear face coverings again

Secondary school children in Leicestershire are again being asked to wear face coverings in communal areas with Covid infection levels again on the rise.

By Nick Rennie
Wednesday, 24th November 2021, 3:15 pm
Updated Wednesday, 24th November 2021, 3:29 pm
Students wearing masks in class as they returned to Melton's Long Field Academy back in March EMN-211124-151110001

The Covid infection rate is increasing markedly across the county including the Melton borough, where current figures show it is well above the national average.

Public health and education bosses at County Hall have this week written to parents, through headteachers, urging them to bring in extra measures to protect students and staff from the virus.

Infection rates in the county are approaching the highest levels seen during the pandemic and there is particular concern that the virus is having an impact on students’ attendance, disrupting their education and affecting the roll-out of the vaccination programme in young people.

Mike Sandys, director of public health at Leicestershire County Council EMN-211124-122307001

Leicestershire County Council’s public health director, Mike Sandys, said: “Unfortunately we are seeing coronavirus again putting considerable pressure on schools. We have been supporting a number of schools in dealing with outbreaks through the autumn term and now I am asking headteachers more widely to consider further measures within schools to help reduce the spread of the virus as winter is approaching.”

The county council is asking headteachers to ask students to cover their faces in parts of schools including hallways, stairwells and when queuing for lunch but not in lessons themselves.

Officials also want to see the use of face coverings adhered to in school buses.

Jane Moore, director of children and families at County Hall, added: “It would have a big impact on reducing the spread of the virus and if we can reduce transmission among young people that protects their parents and grandparents.”

The council is asking that all secondary school pupils take twice-weekly rapid lateral flow tests and has again stressed that vaccination remains the best way to protect people against the virus. Everyone aged over 12, who is eligible, has now been invited to receive their Covid jab.

Latest government statistics for Melton borough show there were 623 cases per 100,000 of the population, for the week of November 13-19.

This compares with 445 in England.

Figures show there were 320 new cases for the week to November 19, an increase of 24 on the previous seven days.

The situation is, of course, different from the height of the pandemic since the roll-out of coronavirus vaccinations has seen eight in 10 of all residents aged over 12 in the Melton borough now having had both jabs.

And 87 per cent of people have had at least the first dose of the vaccine.