The government has today (April 6) confirmed that face coverings should continue to be worn in secondary school and college classrooms as a precautionary measure when students return after the Easter break.
The aim is to limit the risk of transmission and enable continued monitoring of the effect of school and college returns with twice weekly testing.
It is expected that face coverings will no longer be required to be worn in classrooms, or by students in other communal areas, at step 3 of the roadmap, which will be no earlier than May 17.
At that point the next stage of restriction easing, including increased social contact indoors, is expected to be confirmed following a review of data on infection and vaccination rates
All changes will be confirmed with one week’s notice and all other safety measures will remain in place, including regular asymptomatic testing, smaller group bubbles, increased hygiene, ventilation, and social distancing where possible.
Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said: “The return to school and college from March 8 has been an incredible success and I would like to thank staff, parents and pupils for their compliance with the guidance on reducing transmission of the virus. Our latest data also showed that attendance in school remains higher than at any point during the autumn term.
“On top of the protective measures previously in place such as regular handwashing and ventilation, we introduced face coverings in the classroom for secondary schools and colleges to help reduce transmission in parallel with the introduction of twice weekly testing.
“Schools and students have done a great job adapting to Covid secure guidance and working hard to make sure it doesn’t impact learning. We obviously all want to get back to facemask-free classrooms and we will do this in line with the latest scientific data while balancing the interests of students, teachers and the wider community.”
Those who are currently exempt from wearing face coverings will remain so, including pupils or staff who are speaking to or providing assistance to someone who relies on lip reading, clear sound or facial expression to communicate.
Thank goodness for that. I have been asking for masks in schools to be mandatory for months and have written to the appropriate people but was told they were ‘neither necessary or desirable’. To me it was total logic that they should have been worn at least in secondary schools since the very beginning and long before the second wave. Had they been it might have saved many people contracting the disease.
Further to the above. When I said ‘appropriate people’ I meant those in government, not head teachers.
I don’t know about schools in particular, but in the general population, the making of face coverings mandatory has had no discernible effect, according to the data.
If you have a look at the graph in the link, you can easily see where “lockdowns” and “tiers” were implemented. On the other hand there is no discernible consequence of the wearing of face coverings.
This is child abuse plain and simple, and it would be interesting to see if any schools have undertaken any proper risk assessments on the health dangers of mask wearing which they will publish. Parents are asking headteachers and they are not forthcoming. Lawyers are also writing to schools on this, and many children are very distressed. Anyone trying to impose these on children should be deeply ashamed.
I don’t think the lawyers will get anywhere writing to schools: the instructions to wear face coverings comes from the government, not the school governors.