ALL secondary and college pupils at schools in west Cheshire will "be required" to wear face masks on school premises from next week, Cheshire West and Chester Council has confirmed.

Schools across the borough are preparing to welcome back all pupils to the classroom on Monday, March 8, having taught the majority through remote learning in recent weeks due to the Covid lockdown.

Only a minority of pupils – children of key workers and from vulnerable families – have been attending lessons on school grounds since the latest lockdown was imposed in January.

All education providers in the borough will follow the latest Government guidance to ensure their premises are Covid-secure and all precautions are taken to reduce the transmission of the virus.

Secondary and college pupils will now be required, unless medically exempt, to wear face coverings on school premises, where a social distance of two metres cannot be maintained. This will include in classrooms and communal areas.

Pupils in primary schools will not be required to wear face coverings.

Pupils in secondary schools and colleges will also be encouraged to take a rapid result Covid-19 test, called a lateral flow test, at their school as they return.

Three tests will be done on the school or college premises, three to five days apart, and home testing kits will be provided to families to test twice weekly thereafter. Instructions about completing home testing will be provided to families.

Introducing testing for staff and pupils without symptoms will ensure that positive Covid-19 cases and their contacts are found early so they can self-isolate for the required 10 days.

If you’re a member of a household, a childcare bubble or support bubble of staff or a pupil in primary or secondary school, you can also get a twice-weekly rapid lateral flow test.

You can collect two packs of home test kits at a local collection point, which are open daily from 1pm to 7pm.

Households in England with people who attend or work in schools in Wales are also eligible to access these tests.

Full details of where you an access a test can be found on the 'Testing and Self-isolation' section of the Government website at

The below additional measures are already in place in schools across the borough and will remain for this term.

  • All adults to wear a face covering when visiting or entering the school premises including outdoor yard areas.
  • Parents/carers to arrive and leave promptly when dropping off/collecting their child - please do not congregate and maintain social distancing as we know that the virus is easily transmitted from person to person.
  • In schools where it has been agreed that a parent/carer can enter the school premises for drop off and pick up, only one adult should enter.
  • Young people to avoid congregating outside school, mixing with pupils from other schools and go directly home.
  • Pupils travelling on mainstream home to school transport or those aged 11 years and over travelling on public transport must wear a face covering unless they are exempt. This includes pupils travelling on SEN transport.

Councillor Bob Cernik, Cabinet Member for Children and Families, said: “The announcement by the Government that face-to-face teaching can resume is a welcome step in the right direction. Children and families have done a remarkable job learning from home supported by our schools and colleges.

“Our schools and colleges have robust risk assessments and have put all the precautionary measures in place to make their sites as Covid-secure as possible. We do need to remain cautious so please follow the latest guidance from your school when returning next week. It’s also very important to remember the basic rules outlined below.”

Pupils are urged to keep two metres apart as much as possible, wear face coverings if they are in Year 7 or above, washing hands regularly, walking or cycling to school if possible and following their school’s instructions for drop-off and pick-up times.

If you or your child has any Covid-19 symptoms (a high temperature, a new continuous cough, or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste), please self-isolate at home with your household and get a test by visiting or calling 119.

From March 8, the Test and Trace Support Payment Scheme will be extended to assist parents and guardians whose child is required to self-isolate.

This is restricted to one parent or guardian who are unable to work due to caring for a child who is required to self-isolate. For more details go to the ‘How to get help’ section on the Council website at