A HIGH school in Herefordshire has put stricter rules in place for students after a rise in Covid cases.

Pupils at Queen Elizabeth High School in Bromyard will now have to wear face coverings in corridors and other communal areas after cases rose, particulary in year nine.

Executive headteacher Martin Farmer, who holds the same position at the nearby St Peter's and Bredenbury primary schools, said the year group had reached a government threshold for extra measures.

The threshold, set the Department for Education, is defined as 10 per cent of children, pupils, students or staff who are likely to have mixed closely test positive for Covid-19 within a 10-day period.

But in a letter to parents on Tuesday, he said there were also cases in other year groups.

He said this was one of the reasons why all pupils, unless exempt, would have to wear face coverings around the school.


"For those of you asking why this is not being applied to year nine only the reason is our corridors are narrow and it is impossible to set up a short-term system for movement around the school that focuses on one year group," Mr Farmer said.

"Additionally, this is not the fault of a specific year group, we do have positive cases in other year groups as well and it could as easily be any other year group and may be in the future, we do not want to penalise or appear to penalise any pupils we simply have to ensure what we put in place increases safety for all."

He said any non-essential visits to the school would not be allowed, and those visitors deemed essential must also wear a face covering.

All planned assemblies have also been cancelled, he said, and any parents evenings would be carried out remotely.


Mr Farmer said the extra measures were in addition to the current "hand hygiene regime, face coverings on school transport, ventilation opportunities maximised, the twice weekly lateral flow programme and strong cleaning regime".

"These additional mitigations have been advised by the local health team and will all stay in place until at least November 30," he said.

The letter also said that there were some mitigations the school had not taken yet and would not do so unless cases continue to rise, or it is advised to do so.

It said pupils would not be segregated in school, and students would not be told to wear face coverings in classrooms.

"We hope that for those children and their families who may be at home at the moment with Covid they are able to get over it without too much distress and we look forward to welcoming them back at the end of their self-isolation," Mr Farmer said.

It came after children and their parents in Herefordshire were warned that schools may have to make "tough decisions" to control Covid.

Herefordshire's public health and education bosses said they could also tell schools to cancel traditional Christmas activities at short notice.

In a letter to parents, carers and guardians, the chiefs said some schools might already have made the decision to not go ahead with traditions such as nativities.

Assistant director for education development and skills Ceri Morgan and acting director for public health in Herefordshire Rebecca Howell-Jones also said any extra measures to keep Covid at bay should be followed.