THE return to school for some Southampton students has been delayed.

Southampton City Council has confirmed that some schools in the city will be postponing their return date after the festive period by one or two days to ensure “a thorough testing programme is in place”.

The news comes as the number of Coronavirus cases across the country is increasing rapidly as the new Omicron variant continues to spread.

Under current guidance schools are expected to provide in-person teaching when they return next year.

But in a statement Cllr James Baillie, cabinet member for education at the city council, said: “Each schools context is different, we are working collaboratively with headteachers, supporting them with risk assessments to make the best decisions to keep their students safe when they return after the Christmas break.

“Some schools have taken the decision to postpone their return date by one or two days to ensure a thorough testing programme is in place to enable them to welcome students back safely.

“The situation is under constant review and we are on standby to support schools in implementing any new guidance from DfE where needed.”

The names of the schools that have decided to postpone their return date has not been revealed.

Coronavirus cases across the city have increased over the past weeks, with 1,678 cases recorded over the past seven days – an increase of 294 when compared to the week before.

It comes as earlier this week the UK reported its highest number of daily Coronavirus cases since the pandemic began, with 88,376 cases recorded on Thursday (Dec 16).

Measures such as testing, improved ventilation and increased vaccination uptake are expected to be put in place in schools in England.