Schools introduce huge changes to kids' nativity plays amid mutant Omicron Covid variant fears

SCHOOLS across the country have introduced changes to kids' nativity plays as the mutant Omicron variant continues to threaten Christmas.

Children may be grouped into 'acting bubbles' and separate scenes could be recorded then edited together in a bid to keep Covid at bay.

This comes as new face mask measures were introduced for secondary school kids in a bid to stop the spread of the mutant Omicron Covid variant.

The Department for Education announced that children and staff should wear face coverings in communal areas of schools and colleges from tomorrow.

Current guidance states that schools can go ahead with their nativity plays – but many have made changes because of the ongoing Covid threat.

Parents have been warned that their children's festive plays will look different, as many schools plan to live stream and edit their traditional shows.

Musical publishers Out of the Ark, who provide schools across the UK with nativity play scripts, have this year released their own range of 'bubble nativity' packages.

Each scene in their scripts requires only small groups or 'bubbles' of children to be on stage at any given time.

And each play has been designed so that schools can record scenes individually and then edit them together if needed.

This means that the show – hopefully – will go on, despite rising fears over the Omicron variant.

In Newcastle, some primary schools have started recording their school's nativity which they will live stream to parents so that they don't miss out, reports ChronicleLive.

Some schools – who have the space – may opt to show the performance to a live audience who can keep socially distant.

But others have chosen to postpone their nativity plays until next year because of the growing concerns.

The Department of Education confirmed that it was up to schools to decide if they want to host plays before Christmas – as there is currently no limit on group size for events, either indoor or outdoor.

A spokesperson said: "Our guidance to schools states that schools can continue to hold events where visitors such as parents are on-site, for example, school plays.

"But they should take steps to improve fresh air flow in these areas, where gatherings are taking place."

Grant Shapps this week urged teachers and parents to hold their nerve and trust in the booster campaign.

He encouraged schools to hold nativities in a stable environment with lots of ventilation.

Mr Shapps said: "Let the nativity plays play on, is my view.

"We did not go through three rounds of vaccination and everything else to have to live out last Christmas again.

STAGE SET

"We weren't able to get together as we should have done with our friends and families."

Meanwhile, secondary school pupils are "strongly advised" to return to wearing face coverings in corridors and assemblies, the Department of Education announced tonight.

And kids who have come into contact with an Omicron contact will be thrown into 10-day self-isolation – potentially causing disruption to learning.

However, no new rules on wearing face masks during lessons and in classrooms have been announced.

The latest Covid crackdown move for schools was exclusively revealed by The Sun last month.

The move to bring back face coverings in school hallways comes as officials examine measures to muzzle infection rates without damaging the economy.

Local public health directors were previously able to tell individual schools in England to put their kids in masks if infection rates are high in their area.

Schoolchildren were made to wear face coverings during the lockdown earlier this year – before the restriction was overturned on May 17.

But with growing concerns over the Omicron variant, the precaution has been reintroduced so kids can still "benefit from classroom teaching."

Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi said tonight: “We will continue to prioritise children’s and young people’s education and wellbeing, making sure education and childcare settings are as safe as possible and children continue to benefit from classroom teaching.

“We are working with education and childcare settings to enhance safety measures where needed, including introducing isolation for 10 days for close contacts of suspected Omicron cases."

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