Rules around the use of face masks in schools are set to be tightened when children return to school after the latest lockdown, The Guardian reports.
The newspaper reports that masks are expected to be compulsory outside classroom bubbles in secondary schools where social distancing is not possible.
Up until now, it has been up to head teachers to decide whether this is appropriate in their school’s circumstances.
The government is also planning mass use of lateral flow tests, with pupils tested initially in school before switching to home tests.
An announcement on how the staggered return to school from March 8 will be managed is expected next week and final decisions about A-levels and GCSEs will be announced on Thursday.
School leaders are understood to be in talks with the DfE as they try to avoid a “big bang” return to the classroom, bringing 10 million pupils and staff back on the same day.
Meanwhile, The Telegraph reports that some independent schools are shifting their Easter school holidays to lengthen the summer term and maximise in-school learning.
Dr Richard Maloney, headmaster at Uppingham School in Rutland, wrote in a letter to parents that this meant that the school “can keep online teaching to a minimum this term and, with an earlier start to the summer term, maximise the time all pupils can spend in school”.