Masks face returning to schools this winter to tackle Covid surge – but class bubbles won't return, vows minister

KIDS could have to wear masks in schools again if Covid cases surge, the Education Secretary warned today.

Nadhim Zahawi said the Government's back-up plan to tackle a student-spreading spike "absolutely" included the return of forced face coverings.

But hated classroom bubbles WON'T be brought back because it would mean too many children missing lessons.

Besides hand-washing and regular testing pupils are essentially going about their schooling as they did pre-pandemic.

Children over-12 are also being given one dose of the Pfizer vaccine to reduce transmissions in schools.

Ministers are confident they won't have to reimpose more restrictions but say they've planned for the worst.

Mr Zahawi said: "We've got a contingency plan as you would expect. It contains lots of contingencies including masks, absolutely."

The new minister, who replaced bungling Gavin Williamson, basically ruled out reintroducing the classrooms bubbles brought in by his predecessor.

The nightmare policy meant entire classes were sent home if just one pupil tested positive.


Speaking on Sky, Mr Zahawi said: "I don't want to return to bubbles. You saw the fall off in attendance which really does harm mental well being, mental health for children.

"I don't want to return to that. My priority is to protect education and keep schools open and children at school.

"The good news is that thanks to the brilliant teachers and support staff and parents and children 99 per cent of schools are open.

"Attendance has gone up, the last set of figures I looked at it was about 90 per cent – that obviously will will will fluctuate depending on infection rates."

Last month Boris Johnson unveiled his Winter Plan to head off a Covid surge in the colder months when people hunker down indoors.

Plan A included booster jabs and keeping stuffy rooms ventilated.

Plan B included mandatory face masks, working from home and controversial vaccine passports.

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