Thank you for contacting me about the use of face coverings in schools.
The education of our children is absolutely crucial for their welfare, their health and their future. As such, I welcome that the Prime Minister has re-stated the vital importance of all children going back to school in a direct appeal to parents.
It is completely understandable that some parents and teachers will have concerns about the safety of returning to schools. I am encouraged by the growing body of evidence that children are both less affected by the virus and less likely to transmit it to others. As the Chief Medical Officer has stated, children are more likely to be harmed by missing school than by coronavirus.
I hope parents will be further reassured that schools are implementing a ‘system of controls’, including increased cleaning and keeping children in consistent groups, to reduce the risk of transmission. In addition, based on a recent statement from the World Health Organisation (WHO) that children aged 12 and over should wear a mask under the same conditions as adults, guidance on face coverings for staff and children in Year 7 or above in England has been updated.
While the Government is not recommending face coverings are generally necessary in schools across the country, secondary schools and colleges will have the discretion to require face coverings in communal areas if they believe that is right in their particular circumstances.
Consistent with WHO’s new advice, in areas where rates of transmission are high and national government interventions are in place, the guidance states that face coverings should be worn by adults and pupils in secondary schools and colleges when moving around, such as in corridors and communal areas where social distancing is difficult to maintain. It will not be necessary to wear face coverings in the classroom, where protective measures already mean the risks are lower, and where they can inhibit learning.
For your further information, the full guidance on the use of face coverings in schools can be found here - https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/face-coverings-in-education/face-coverings-in-education
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me
Sally-Ann Hart MP