HEADTEACHERS in Bolton are being encouraged to get tough on Covid by introducing new measures as cases soar.

Rising infection rates are starting to impact on the day-to-day running of schools.

Bolton’s public health chiefs say they are seeing cases rise “markedly in school-age children” adding that “some schools have started to experience challenges with staff capacity as a result”.

School bubbles and social distancing were scrapped in schools at the start of the new academic year as Covid restrictions were lifted.

But now health chiefs are looking to re-introduce similar measures back into school ­— but add their advice will have minimal impact on education.

They are advising schools to reintroduce the wearing of face masks for all – staff, pupils and visitors - in communal areas as well as limiting the mixing of year groups and re-introducing social distancing.

Schools are being urged to keep the measures in place until December.

A spokesman for Bolton Council said: “We continue to monitor infection rates across all our schools and work closely with headteachers to ensure appropriate measures are in place.

“Cases are trending upwards and a number of schools have faced staff shortages due to Covid related absence.

“This can have a significant impact on day-to-day teaching, particularly in smaller settings.

“Therefore, the council has recommended additional measures to reduce the risk of the virus spreading and to keep disruption to a minimum.

“The ongoing vaccination programme for children aged 12 to 15 year old offers good protection against Covid and will help to reduce transmission within educational settings.

“We urge residents of all ages to take up the vaccine when it is offered.”

In Bolton 90 per cent of children remain in school and no schools have shut due to Covid.

Latest coronavirus figures show that Bolton has a rate of 286.6 per 100,000 in the past seven days to October 16 while there were 826 new cases in the same time.

That rate had risen from 276.2 per 100,000 from the previous week while there had been 796 cases in the seven days to October 9. Rates of new cases of Covid-19 among schoolchildren in England have climbed to a new record high, latest figures show. A total of 1,366.8 cases per 100,000 people aged 10 to 19 were recorded in the seven days to October 17, up week-on-week from 1,134.9.

The rate for five to nine-year-olds is 719.2, up week-on-week from 585.0. For both age groups this is the highest weekly rate since this data was first collected in October, 2020