British Prime Minister Boris Johnson says his government is ready to advise high school students in England to wear face masks "in some contexts" if the medical evidence deems it necessary in containing the spread of the coronavirus.
The government backtracked on its insistence that students in England should not have to cover their nose and mouth when they return to class from next week, amid concern about a rise in new infections.
Principal Hilary Wood said it was about the "safe restart of the school".
"The risk to your health is not from Covid because after all, statistically speaking, your chances of suffering from that disease are very, very low", he said.
"What we're saying is if you're in a school where there is a "hot spot" then it probably does make sense in confined areas outside the classroom to use a face coverings in the corridor and elsewhere".
If, as Tes reported, the government does change its policy on face masks, it would be its second major U-turn in eight days.
Scotland adopted the WHO's advice on Tuesday and went further by also asking children over five to wear them while travelling on dedicated school transport.
But while welcoming the change, critics including the main opposition Labor party said ministers had shirked their responsibility by leaving enforcement to individual schools.
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Full guidance has not yet been published, but is expected "shortly" the department said, and will come into effect from September 1.
But Williamson, widely blamed for the furore over exam results, on Wednesday said the government would now follow World Health Organization advice for children aged 12 and over to wear masks.
The government said face masks will not need to be worn in classrooms, because other protective measures, such as socially distanced seating, will be in place. "I hope these steps will provide parents, pupils and teachers with further reassurance", UK Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said.
The government has reversed policy on wearing facemasks in schools in England, sparking fresh criticism about its handling of the coronavirus outbreak.
But now, the Government has tweaked the rules for face coverings in schools in England after coming under pressure to follow Scotland's example, where older pupils will be required to wear face coverings in between lessons from next week.
Post-primary pupils in Northern Ireland will be asked to wear face coverings in corridors and other communal areas, Stormont's education minister Peter Weir said on Tuesday.
The WHO changed its advice over the weekend, saying everyone over the age of 12 should wear a face covering where social distancing is more hard.
Welsh health minister Vaughan Gething said a decision on schoolchildren wearing face coverings will be made on Wednesday, but current guidance says masks are not being recommended.