Parents, teachers and pupils have been warned the new Omicron Covid variant is set to cause “chaos” in schools across England.

The warning comes as the new rules were introduced for schools over the weekend.

New guidance for schools in England amid Omicron Covid variant

Face coverings are to be brought back for communal areas in England’s schools and colleges as part of measures to contain the spread of the Omicron Covid-19 variant.

Under the new guidance, all staff, visitors and pupils in Year 7 – the first year of secondary school – or above, are “strongly advised” to wear a covering, unless exempt.

The measure, which applies from Monday, covers all education establishments including universities, as well as childcare settings such as early years care.

The guidance does not mean masks should be worn in classrooms but it is advised that they are worn in communal areas like corridors.

The guidance is temporary and will be reviewed in three weeks, the Department for Education said.

New Covid guidance in schools a ‘disaster’

Molly Kingsley, a founder of parents group UsForThem told The Telegraph: "We learnt from summer that forcing healthy children to isolate was an unmitigated disaster."

She added a move to reintroduce Covid measures for kids would be “shameful” further adding that schools face “disaster”.

Covid Recovery Group's Steve Baker MP added that new isolation guidance could cause “chaos” in classrooms across the country.

Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi issues statement on new Covid measures

Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi said: “The news of a new variant – the so-called Omicron variant – will have understandably caused concern for people across our country, including our teachers, wider education and childcare staff, parents, pupils and students.

“We are already taking targeted and proportionate action as a precaution while we find out more information about the new variant.

He added: “As we do so, 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.

“I’d like to thank everyone working to support our children and young people for their patience and hard work.”