Pupils will be ordered to wear face masks in assemblies and hallways in a bid to bring down spiraling Covid rates, it has been reported.
Local public health directors can currently tell individual schools in England to bring back masks in schools if infection rates are high in their area.
But the government is considering allowing these directors to be able to inform schools across a region to re-introduce the measure.
Ministers are said to be mulling over the plans amid alarm at the rocketing number of cases in teens.
The requirement to wear facemasks in classrooms was scrapped in May during the phasing out of lockdown restrictions.
Ministers believe bringing back masks in communal areas only could be enough to hold down rates without resorting to ‘more draconian measures,’ The Sun reports.
However, they are waiting to see if the current half-term break works as a firebreak to reduce cases.
Earlier this month, a huge Covid swab test of over 100,000 people showed infections in England were increasing among under-18s but falling in those aged 18 to 55.
Imperial College London’s REACT-1 study calculated an R value of slightly above 1 for the general population, but an R value of 1.2 among under 18s.
It is thought that one million school children in England already face tougher restrictions as regional leaders take matters into their own hands to reduce Covid rates.
A total of 17 local authorities in England, affecting almost 1.1million pupils at 3,250 schools, are recommending stricter measures, according to The Daily Telegraph.
The Department for Education has not confirmed the face mask plan.
But the government said it does have contingency plans for stricter rules in the education system if it needs to stem a wave of infections building in schools.
Earlier this month, Education secretary Nadhim Zahawi signalled he would not reintroduce bubbles but confirmed masks were one measure ministers could turn to.
It comes as the government faces pressure to re-introduce measures across society amid fears we could be heading for another Christmas lockdown.
Boris Johnson has come under fire from medics and opposition MPs for refusing to implement its Plan B strategy for winter, which would see a return to mandatory face masks and work from home guidance.
Ministers insist current pressure on NHS is sustainable, but medics say we are already in a winter crisis with many bleak months ahead.
Paramedics have warned a six-hour wait for an ambulance will become commonplace this Christmas, while the number of patients in hospital with Covid has reached a 7 month high as the backlog of patient care climbs to six million.
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