THE number of school children in Herefordshire catching Covid is rising, the county's education and public health bosses have said.

They've issued a fresh warning to parents as it's revealed around half of the county's school currently have children off with coronavirus.

Herefordshire Council said the number of children aged between five and 16 testing positive for coronavirus each week was rising.

And while it said health rises were low, there was the impact of missing school and the risk of passing it onto more vulnerable people to consider.

Of the 75 schools and colleges which reported Covid statuses to the Department for Education on Wednesday (December 1), 43 have confirmed Covid cases.

At those 43 schools there were 204 confirmed cases.

On top of that, there were a further 260 suspected cases.

That meant 464 pupils in Herefordshire were off school on Wednesday due to coronavirus, according to the council's public health team.

It added that 89.9 per cent of pupils on roll were attending their school or college which was higher than the England average of 88.5 per cent on the same day.

More than a month ago on September 30, 1,142 school children either had, or were thought to have, coronavirus.

On that day, 88 of Herefordshire's schools reported figures to the Department for Education, and Almeley Primary School and Kingstone High School were both closed due to the number of Covid cases found.

It comes as top Herefordshire Council bosses issued a fresh warning to parents and guardians.

In a letter on December 2, interim public health director Dr Rebecca Howell-Jones and assistant director for education development and skills Ceri Morgan said the number of five to 16-year-olds testing positive for coronavirus was rising.

"As we enter the final weeks of 2021, and in the run-up to Christmas and other celebrations, we would like to thank you and your children and young people for continuing to play your part to reduce the spread of Covid-19 in Herefordshire and to keep our schools open," they said.

"Covid-19 case rates in five to 10 and 11-16 year-olds have been consistently high during this Autumn term.

"Currently one in every 100 Herefordshire children aged five to 16 is testing positive each week and this rate is increasing.

"Whilst the health risks of Covid-19 infection to children and young people are thankfully low, the impact of missed school is high.

"These high case rates in children and young people also increase the risk of spreading Covid-19 to those who are more vulnerable."

It comes after new Government advice for children in years seven and above to wear face coverings in communal areas.

Some schools in Herefordshire, like John Masefield in Ledbury and Fairfield in Peterchurch, have gone one step further by asking pupils to also wear them in classrooms in a bid to keep cases low.