Millions of children are heading back to school, on what is a major milestone in Britain’s ‘roadmap’ out of the latest lockdown.
All pupils in England will start returning from Monday, March 8, after some have spent months at home.
New rules mean masks are mandatory in lessons – while secondary school students will be tested every week.
The return comes as covid infection rates continue to plunge across the country.
However, there are some fears that the return of pupils will push up the ‘R number’ – meaning infections start to rise again.
Despite those concerns, the North East’s current infection rates are at their lowest point since last September.
And despite one expert claiming there was evidence the rate had “flattened”, current Government data shows infections are still falling across all seven North East councils.
These are the current North East infection rates as pupils return to school.
(The infection rate is the number of cases for every 100,000 residents. The data is taken from the UK Government’s data map, and is correct for the week ending March 2)
North Tyneside – 106.8 (222 cases)
Newcastle -75.6 (229 cases)
South Tyneside -102 (154 cases)
Gateshead -74.2 (150 cases)
Northumberland -65.7 (212 cases)
County Durham -93.9 (498 cases)
Sunderland -101.2 (281 cases)