Face masks are to be worn in classrooms in England’s secondary schools to reduce the spread of the Omicron variant, the government has announced.
The temporary reintroduction of face coverings aims to address concerns about schools remaining open for face-to-face learning this coming term.
Meanwhile, six school staff unions have issued a demand for urgent action to limit the spread of the virus.
They warned national exams would be put at risk without further measures.
They also called for air-cleaning units, financial support for absence cover, help with on-site testing and a relaxation of the Ofsted inspection regime.
Schools across the UK are re-opening after the Christmas break over the next week, with pupils being asked to take part in onsite Covid testing.
Until now, England was the only one of the four UK nations where face masks were not recommended for pupils in classrooms. Teachers will not have to wear them under the new guidelines.