New air filters for schools with poor ventilation and temporary face covering measures are being introduced for pupils returning to the classroom this week.
Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi has announced an additional 7,000 air cleaning units will be provided to early years, schools and colleges to improve ventilation in teaching spaces and the Government is temporarily recommending that face coverings are worn in classrooms and teaching spaces for students in year 7 or above, in light of the Omicron variant spread.
The advice is short term and will be in place until the January 26, when Plan B regulations are currently scheduled to expire, at which point it will be reviewed.
Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi said: “Being in the classroom is undoubtedly the very best place for children and I’m looking forward to welcoming pupils back next week to continue their face-to-face learning, which is so important for their education and wellbeing.
“There is no doubt that the Omicron variant presents challenges but the entire education sector has responded with a Herculean effort, and for that I thank each and every one of you.”.
Ofsted has confirmed that it will not be inspecting secondary schools during the first week of term in January, as schools undertake on-site pupil testing.
Ofsted will also encourage early years settings, schools and colleges that are significantly impacted by COVID-related staff absence to ask for their inspection to be deferred.