THE headteacher of a Herefordshire school has explained what the new Covid rules are as free testing ends for the majority of people in England.

From April 1, free universal testing will no longer be available as the Government rolls out its "Living with Covid" plan.

But despite the changing advice, which saw high school children no longer encouraged to test twice a week earlier in the year, the virus has still caused disruptions to learning.

At Weobley High School near Leominster, headteacher Dean Williams said it had been an "incredibly challenging term" with up to a quarter of teachers off on a single day.


Although pupil attendance has improved somewhat, staff absence has been very high with up to a quarter of our teachers off on some days as well as multiple support staff," he said in a letter to parents on Thursday.

"This has inevitably been disruptive and has created a great deal of cover; consequently pupils have regularly been taught by somebody other than their usual teacher.

"We have managed to avoid full or partial closure however this has only been possible by occasionally doubling or even trebling groups, increasing our budget for supply staff ten-fold (when we can source them!) and asking teachers to regularly cover other teachers’ lessons."

He praised pupils for how they had coped though, and things had been improving "very recently".

Latest Covid guidance for schools

But he said most Covid guidance for education was withdrawn from Friday and shared the latest update from the Department of Education with parents.

He said free Covid tests will now only be available for specific groups including eligible patients and NHS staff and schools can no longer order stock and must send back any surplus.

Mr Williams also said that adults with symptoms of a respiratory infection, such as Covid, and who have a high temperature or feel unwell, should try to stay at home and avoid contact with other people until they feel well enough to resume normal activities and they no longer have a temperature.


For children who are unwell and have a high temperature, they should stay at home and avoid contact with other people, he said, adding: "They can return to school when they no longer have a high temperature, and they are well enough to attend."

He also said the latest advice meant adults with a positive Covid-19 test result should try to stay at home and avoid contact with other people for five days, which is when they are most infectious. For children, the advice is three days.

"The guidance goes on to explain that this is now possible as the population now has much stronger protection against Covid-19 than at any other point in the pandemic," he said.

"This means we can begin to manage the virus like other respiratory infections."