A HIGH school in Herefordshire is relaxing its Covid rules, but a headteacher has warned they could be strengthened again at short notice.

Pupils at Queen Elizabeth High School in Bromyard will no longer have to wear face masks, despite some students currently self-isolating due to positive Covid tests.

But executive headteacher Martin Farmer said the two pupils currently isolating caught Covid during half-term, and not at the school.

He said the week-long holiday at the end of October acted as a "firebreak" to stop the virus spreading among staff and pupils.

In a letter to parents and carers on Friday, Mr Farmer said Covid measures were strengthened at the school, which has around 350 pupils, before half-term when cases began to rise.


And despite masks no longer being needed at the school from Monday, that measure could be reintroduced at short notice if cases began to rise.

"The half-term break, all be it short, did provide a form of “firebreak” to use government terminology," he said.

"It allowed the pupils who were positive and isolating to conclude their period of isolation ready to return to school, and it saw a very small number of pupils test positive within the half-term window who therefore did not attend at the start of this week," he said.

"The current situation is that we have two pupils currently isolating as positive cases contracted during half-term, neither of which have had contact with other pupils at school, there are no staff currently ill with Covid although we do remain affected to a small degree by the requirement to self-isolate for close contacts who are not yet double vaccinated.

"As we want to maintain as normal a service as we possibly can for all the children, from Monday, we will remove the requirement to wear a face covering within school."


He said students would still need to wear a mask, unless exempt, on school transport, and anyone who still wants to wear a face covering in school would be allowed to do so.

But he said the relaxed rules were only possible due to the low Covid rates for the school. Should they begin to rise, masks would be compulsory again "at short notice".

Herefordshire's latest coronavirus infection rate stood at 457.1 cases per 100,000 people in the seven days to October 31.

The county is among the 74 local authority areas in the UK to have seen a rise in infection rate. Some 301 saw falls in the rate, and two stayed the same.

A week before, the rate in Herefordshire stood at 444.7 cases per 100,000 people.