A HIGH school in Herefordshire has told its pupils to wear masks in classrooms until further notice due to Covid.

Despite new Department for Education advice for masks only being needed in communal areas, not classrooms, John Masefield High School in Ledbury has taken that extra step.

The new Government guidance for years seven and above are part of the measures to slow the spread of the Omicron Covid variant.

Other new measures in England include compulsory masks in shops and on public transport – which now brings the country in line with the other UK nations.

But Andrew Evans, headteacher at the school in Mabel's Furlong, said students would have to wear masks while in school, except if exempt or when sat down to eat in the dining room and community lounge.

"In light of the Prime Minister’s announcement over the weekend the Department for Education has issued updated requirements for students in years seven and above," he said in a letter to parents on Tuesday.

"With effect from Tuesday, November 30 and until further notice, all students, staff and visitors will be required to wear a face covering in indoor communal areas, which includes corridors and classrooms.

"In the dining room and community lounge students who are sat down to eat will not be required to wear a face covering."

He said there were 10 confirmed cases of Covid within the school, around one per cent of the population.

"This is lower than many other local schools," he said.

Mr Evans said he thought the low number of cases was as a result of the "large number" of children aged 12 to 15 who have had a dose of the Covid vaccine.

Urging anyone eligible who has not yet been vaccinated to do so, he said: "In our view, the large number of 12 to 15 year olds who had their first vaccines in school after half term is a significant factor in the relatively low number of cases over the past few weeks."