THE HEADTEACHER of a Basingstoke secondary school has paid tribute to families' response to new face covering rules.

Unlike most schools, pupils at Cranbourne school are asked to wear face coverings at all times indoors, including in classrooms.

And headteacher Jane Aplin says that she is pleased with the response from families to the new rules, saying that the return of all pupils to school for the first time since March has gone "pretty smoothly".

"The year 10s were used to it [from when they returned to school in June]," Mrs Aplin said. "They are quite used to high level of infection control.

"The younger pupils have just got on with it. The difficulty is being able to read people's expressions."

Headteachers of secondary schools were given the power by government to decide how face coverings should be used in school buildings.

Mrs Aplin decided that pupils should wear a covering in classrooms and corridors, and are free to take them off when they go outside.

Those who are unable to wear a covering for medical reasons are exempt, and there are visors that can be used by them instead.

"I am grateful that the government left it up to headteachers, she continued.

"We haven't all got the same sort of school.

"I want [students] to feel safe to come into school.

"I have seen studies that say that if you wear masks or coverings it won't stop the virus but you get a lower viral load.

"If you think about it, in a corridor they are actually quite-well ventilated and because we have a one-way system they are quite well spaced out."

She added that it was the opposite in classrooms, where pupils have to sit side-by-side with others.

"We are going to be the last school to close," Mrs Aplin, who has been at the helm of Cranbourne for four years, remarked. "I don't want the school to close because we have had an outbreak."