FACE coverings are to be made mandatory in secondary schools, colleges and universities as soon as possible.

That is according to the Welsh education minister Jeremy Miles, who issued a statement today.

Mr Miles said that the emergence of the new Omicron variant was a "serious development in the ongoing pandemic".
"All staff and learners in our secondary schools, colleges and universities should now wear face coverings while indoors where physical distancing cannot be maintained," he said.

"Many settings are already operating on this basis, guided by their local risk assessment, but this will now become a national approach."

Mr Miles said that this would be a temporary measure - in place for the remaining weeks of term at which point the position will be reviewed.

"This should come into effect in all settings as soon as possible," he said.

"Throughout the pandemic the Welsh Government’s priority has been to maximise learning and to minimise disruption for our young people.

"With three weeks left of term, it is vital that we ensure that learning can continue for as many learners as possible."

The minister said that he would be writing to schools, colleges and universities tomorrow setting out this new guidance.

"We will continue to monitor the situation and encourage anyone who is eligible to take up the offer of vaccination to do so," he said.

"Staff and secondary learners should also make full use of the offer of LFT testing and follow the latest public health advice."