WORCESTERSHIRE County Council has welcomed the end to school bubbles - as numbers of those isolating due to Covid increase across the county.

School children will no longer be required to remain in bubbles from July 19 if step four of the government's roadmap out of lockdown goes ahead.

This means that bubbles will not need to be used for any summer provision or in schools from the autumn term.

Any school still open at step four may wish to continue with these measures until the end of their summer term.

A huge number of students and staff across Worcestershire have had to isolate due to bubble closures over the last few weeks - with around 4373 children and staff affected.

Councillor Marcus Hart, cabinet member for education said: “I am very pleased the government is now taking this approach.

"Whilst it will be effectively the end of term it gives a clear position for all schools to plan for any holiday provision and for the return in September.

“We have seen an increase in the numbers of pupils and staff affected by bubble closures over the last couple of weeks with the latest data showing there are 104 situations where bubbles or partial bubbles have been collapsed in 52 schools in Worcestershire with 4373 pupils and staff affected.

“We all know the disruption that having children off school causes for working parents and if it is safe pupils should be at school and I further welcome the news that protective measures including ensuring good hygiene, maintaining appropriate cleaning regimes and keeping occupied spaces well ventilated will continue in the Autumn term to help maximise attendance and minimise disruption.”

Schools will be required to update their outbreak management plans to cover the possibility that in some local areas it may become necessary to reintroduce ‘bubbles’ for a temporary period, to reduce mixing between groups.

The Department for Education also announced that from step four, face coverings will no longer be advised for pupils, staff and visitors either in classrooms or in communal areas.

Face coverings may be recommended as a temporary measure in communal areas or classrooms in the event of an outbreak in an education setting.