Teachers and students in some schools across the Midlands will have to wear face coverings from today (1st September).
It comes after the government recommended last week that coverings should be worn in indoor communal areas such as corridors and toilets - although the guidance is not mandatory unless schools are in a local lockdown area.
Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said the guidance was based on updated advice from the World Health Organization, and head teachers in areas that not under lockdown are being given "flexibility" when it comes to deciding whether or not to implement the measure.
Secondary schools in Leicester, which remains under local lockdown, were among the first to introduce the coverings today (1st September). At Soar Valley College, there are now disinfectant wipes for the desks, as well as plenty of face masks.
The change in rules does not mean that face coverings will be worn in the classroom - an idea that Prime Minister Boris Johnson described as "nonsensical" because it would hinder learning.
But the issue of Covid-19 still hangs heavily over schools. The headteacher's union - the NAHT - has condemned plans to fine parents who refuse to send their children to school. If local coronavirus cases soar, the government's floated the idea of a rota system for secondary school pupils where they'd have 2 weeks teaching in class, and two weeks remote learning from home. There's also talk of delaying next year's GCSE and A-Level exams in England.