Schools asked to bring back masks following ‘exceptional’ COVID infections

MAIDENHEAD 133110-23

Schools in Windsor and Maidenhead are being urged to re-introduce face coverings in communal areas and reduce ‘unnecessary mixing’ due to spiralling COVID-19 infections.

Figures from Berkshire Public Health show that the weekly case rate for those aged 10 to 14 in the borough was 2,155 cases per 100,000 people as of October 7.

A meeting of the council’s outbreak engagement board yesterday heard that positive coronavirus cases are also high among those aged 15-19, standing at 579 cases per 100,000.

David Scott, head of communities at the Royal Borough, told the meeting a letter is being sent to schools in the area this week recommending that additional measures are introduced to contain the spread of infections.

He said: “The strong advice is that headteachers implement enhanced measures above current Government guidelines including the use of face mask coverings in communal areas for staff, children and visitors, reduced contact between groups where possible and avoiding unnecessary mixing.”

Current Government guidelines say face coverings are no longer advised for pupils, staff or visitors in classrooms or communal areas.

Mr Scott said he expects schools to be placed under additional pressure by the number of events which take place in the run-up to Christmas including school fairs and open evenings.

He added that pupils and staff should continue to take lateral flow tests if a member of their household tests positive for the virus and this should be done for up to seven days.

“We hope these extra measures will help contribute to bring down some of those really high rates, particularly in that middle set of year groups from 10 to 14 which is really exceptional,” he said.

Desborough College has told pupils it will be delivering lessons remotely this Friday to create a ’10-day circuit breaker’ over the half-term break due to a rise in COVID-19 cases.

Leader of the opposition, Councillor Simon Werner (Lib Dems, Pinkneys Green) told the meeting he was pleased to see the local authority going beyond the coronavirus advice offered by central Government for schools.

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