Students at a high school refuse to take tests or wear face masks in class.

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School students refuse to wear face masks in class or take tests, causing a ruckus.

More than a third of schools in England have at least one out of every ten teachers absent due to Covid, prompting students to refuse to wear masks in class or take tests.

As students return to school after the Christmas break, the government has issued new guidance requiring secondary school and college students in England to wear face coverings in class.

However, some children refuse to do so or take tests.

Around 5% of pupils in one school agreed to take a test and wear a mask, according to Damien McNulty, a national executive member of the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers (NASUWT).

“Unfortunately, we’ve received reports in the last 24 hours of at least six secondary schools in the north-west of England where children are refusing to take lateral flow tests or wear masks in large numbers,” he told the BBC.

“In Lancashire, we have one school where only 67 children out of 1,300 are willing to take a lateral flow test and wear masks.

“We’re dealing with a public health crisis.”

This follows a survey by the National Association of Headteachers, which found that one in every three school leaders reported staff shortages of more than 10% as a result of the rising number of Omicron cases.

At least 95% of schools have some students absent due to Covid-related issues.

Around 29% said more than 10% of their students were absent.

“Our members are doing everything they possibly can to keep the show on the road and to ensure face-to-face education continues,” said Paul Whiteman, the union’s general secretary, on BBC Radio Four’s Today programme.

“According to our survey of 2,000 school leaders this week, more than a third of them have 10% or more of their staff away for Covid reasons right now, but they’re handling it pretty well, with only 7% of those having to combine classes and 4% sending children home.

“That’s based on absence rates of around 10%, but the government has warned everyone to expect absence rates of around 25%, so it’ll be extremely difficult.”

“However, we can see school leaders and their teams rising to the occasion once more.”

Mr Whiteman called for a reduction in government and Ofsted pressures as school staffing levels rise.

“Brinkwire News Summary.”

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