Third Omicron case discovered in UK; Netherlands confirms at least 13 cases of new variant
Students from schools and colleges England will have to wear masks again, after the education ministry told school principals and principals that face coverings should now be worn in common areas by staff, visitors and students grade 7 and up. Year 7 is intended for children aged 11 and is the first year of public secondary school in England.
Students and staff who are “suspected or confirmed close contacts of the Omicron variant” will be asked to self-isolate for 10 days, regardless of their immunization status or age. Currently, only confirmed cases need to be isolated.
Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said: “It appears that the Omicron variant may result in more staff and student absences, making an already very serious situation worse.
“It is therefore imperative that the government provide workforce funding to schools and colleges to help cover the cost of supplying absent staff.
“Schools and colleges are in a position to have to provide classroom instruction for certain groups of students and distance education for other groups of students, along with the lack of staff related to Covid. They simply cannot afford the ongoing costs of the required supply coverage.
“The government should also promote a public campaign to encourage twice-weekly home Covid testing among eligible students to reduce the risk of transmission.
“We have made these calls several times. It is clear that this crisis will not go away, and we again call on the government to give the sector the support it needs. “
Nadhim Zahawi, Education Secretary for England, said: “We are taking targeted and proportionate measures as a precautionary measure while we get more information on the new variant.”
Zahawi added, “We are working with education and childcare institutions to improve security measures where necessary, including introducing 10-day isolation for close contacts of suspected Omicron cases. “