HEADTEACHERS across the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead are being encouraged to get tough on Covid by introducing new measures as cases soar.

Rising infection rates are starting to impact on the day-to-day running of schools.

Windsor and Maidenhead's public health chiefs say they are seeing cases “steadily rising in school aged children” adding that “current rates are amongst the highest the borough has ever seen”.

School bubbles and social distancing were scrapped in schools at the start of the new academic year as Covid restrictions were lifted.

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But now health officials are looking to re-introduce similar measures back into school ­— but add their advice will have minimal impact on education.

They are advising schools to reintroduce the wearing of face masks for all – staff, pupils and visitors - in communal areas as well as limiting the mixing of year groups and re-introducing social distancing.

Schools are being urged to keep the measures in place until December.

Royal Borough Observer:

The letter from health officials says: "Following an extraordinary meeting of the Board on 14 October, several additional measures were identified with the aim of reducing the risk of Covid-19 transmission within our schools and colleges.

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"We strongly advise that head teachers implement these enhanced measures, over and above current government guidance, as soon as is practicable the use of face coverings in communal areas (unless exempt) for staff, children, and visitors in both primary and secondary schools, reduce contact between and within year groups in school where possible, avoid mixing between groups (either class or year group), separate break and lunch areas / times where possible and no whole school (primary) or whole year group (secondary) assemblies.

"We strongly advise that all the above measures are implemented as part of your baseline Covid-19 security measures."

Latest coronavirus figures show that Windsor Maidenhead has a rate of 564.5 per 100,000 in the past seven days to October 20 while there were 854 new cases in the same time.

That rate had risen from 564.5 per 100,000 from the previous week. Rates of new cases of Covid-19 among schoolchildren in England have climbed to a new record high, latest figures show. A total of 1,366.8 cases per 100,000 people aged 10 to 19 were recorded in the seven days to October 17, up week-on-week from 1,134.9.

The rate for five to nine-year-olds is 719.2, up week-on-week from 585.0. For both age groups this is the highest weekly rate since this data was first collected in October, 2020