Schools are drawing up new behaviour codes that include new offences related to Covid-19, The Guardian reports.

Students face being sent home for “malicious coughing” or making inappropriate jokes about the disease.

The new school rules come after the Department for Education released guidance warned: “It is likely that adverse experiences or lack of routines of regular attendance and classroom discipline may contribute to disengagement with education upon return to school, resulting in increased incidence of poor behaviour.”

Ark Alexandra academy in Hastings, one of a number of school bringing in new rules, told parents that Covid-related bad behaviour could result in pupils being suspended.

Breaches would include “deliberate or malicious” coughs or sneezes, “humorous, inappropriate comments or statements” related to Covid-19 and “purposeful physical contact with any other person”.

Jerome Scafe, network associate principal, said in a letter to parents: “Any student that needs to have a fixed-term exclusion during the pandemic will not return to main circulation until a risk assessment and we can be assured that the student will adhere to all our expectations.”

Ark Byron primary academy in Acton, west London, told parents that pupils failing to follow hygiene and social distancing measures would “immediately be moved to a separate area”.