THE headteacher at a Herefordshire secondary school has said it is "time to move on" from Covid as children are told not to wear masks on buses.

Wigmore High School, north of Leominster, wrote to parents this week updating them about the latest Covid rules in schools.

The rules, which come from the Department for Education, are that children who are unwell and have a high temperature should stay at home and avoid contact with other people.

They can then go back to school when they feel better and no longer have a high temperature.


And any children who test positive for Covid should stay at home for three days, or as long as any high temperature lasts.

But over the last 12 months, the Government has been rolling back Covid measures in schools. First, close contacts no longer needed to self-isolate, then the need to test with a lateral flow twice a week ended.

Executive headteacher Rob Patterson said: "At the end of last week, the government updated their guidance on Covid-19 measures for schools, withdrawing a large number of guidance documents created and adapted over the past two years.

"There is a clear change of emphasis in treating Covid-19 going forward, with responsibility for guidance shifting to the UK Health Security Agency and treating coronavirus as one of a range of ailments that can affect the population"

He finished the letter by thanking students at Wigmore for supporting measures over the past two years, adding: "It's time to move on."

In the same letter, he also said: "Hopefully as coronavirus wains, attendance at school will start to rise again towards our target of 96 per cent or more.

"We are no longer provided with lateral flow tests to distribute to individuals, although they can be bought commercially should you wish.

"The guidance on face coverings has also been withdrawn and so, after the Easter holidays, we will no longer require students to wear face coverings on school transport, although they are still advised when Covid-19 levels are high."

Figures from the Government show 1,709 Covid cases were reported in Herefordshire in the seven days to March 31, the final day of free universal testing.

That gave the county an infection rate of 882.7 cases per 100,000 people.

But that was 355 fewer cases than the week before when the infection rate was 1,066.0. A fortnight ago it was 863.1.


Despite the upbeat letter from Dr Patterson, other school leaders in England have said they are still very concerned by the ongoing disruptions caused by Covid.

On Monday both the NAHT school leaders’ union and the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) called for Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi to reinstate free lateral flow tests for pupils and staff.

The open letter, from general secretaries Paul Whiteman and Geoff Barton, said that their members had reported greater Covid-related disruption in their schools and colleges over the last few weeks “than at any previous point during the pandemic” and that for many members it could prove the “final straw”.

It added that “in the face of this extensive and ongoing disruption” the decision to remove free Covid lateral flow tests for nearly all pupils and staff “feels reckless in the extreme”.