HEADTEACHERS in Herefordshire have been reacting to more changes to Covid rules from the Government, with one saying he would still be sending children with symptoms home.

Now in English high schools, students are no longer encouraged to wear masks, or use lateral flow tests twice a week.

But for some headteachers, they have reacted with scepticism to the rules, which came as the legal requirement to self-isolate after a positive test ended.

People with Covid are still encouraged to isolate, with teachers telling pupils they should stay at home until they test negative with lateral flows for two days in a row.

But free tests are no longer given out by schools, and the wider scheme for the public will also finish at the end of the month.

Michael Stoppard, headteacher at Hereford Academy, in Marlbrook Road, said any students with Covid symptoms would still be sent home and require negative tests if they wanted to return to school before the 10-day self-isolation period is up.


"In the result of any outbreak we may return to masks or other measures in line with Public Health guidance, but for now these are optional," he said, adding regular deep cleans and hand sanitising would continue.

At John Masefield High School in Ledbury, headteacher Andrew Evans said: "We have had some queries from parents whose children have tested positive on a routine LFD test.

"In this instance, we would recommend that your child takes a PCR and isolates until the results are available.

"However, please remember that advice has changed and students should no longer be routinely testing with lateral flow device tests."

But he said although there is no longer a legal requirement to self-isolate if students have Covid symptoms, he "strongly recommends" that advice to do so is followed.

"Positive cases as confirmed by PCR are still advised to stay at home for at least five full days and follow guidance until they have received two negative lateral flow device tests on consecutive days," he added.

At Weobley High School, headteacher Dean Williams said there had been a "clear shift towards removing the dependence on testing as well as contact tracing".


"Schools will no longer receive test kits to distribute, unless instructed by Public Health, and LFD tests will only be available for free up until the end of March," he said.

For headteacher Sue Gaston at Fairfield High School in Peterchurch, she said children could still wear masks if they wanted.

"We are pleased to see everyone back after the half term break and hope that we can begin to return to some ‘normality’ following recent government announcements about ‘living with Covid’," she said.

"We are mindful that many of our students have health vulnerabilities or live with someone who does, so whilst we will no longer expect face masks to be worn in school, I am happy that this remains a personal choice for staff, students and visitors.

"As usual we will do our best to support students and families who feel anxious about the impact this change may have.

"We will still encourage the use of hand sanitiser and we will continue to clean all areas of the school very carefully."