City of Rockledge Extends Face Mask/Face Covering Order Through April 30

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  • Date:2021/03/02

Confusion over the rules governing face coverings in classrooms is in danger of creating “mask anarchy” in schools in England, a leading Conservative has warned.

As schools prepare to welcome all pupils back into class next week, Robert Halfon, who chairs the cross-party Commons education committee, told ministers that head teachers were coming under pressure from parents over masks and called for “definitive regulations” to clear up the issue.

Covid: masks and tests not compulsory at English schools, says minister

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According to its latest guidance, the government “recommends” the wearing of face masks in secondary school classrooms where social distancing cannot be maintained, but it is not compulsory, and states: “No pupil or student should be denied education on the grounds that they are not wearing a face covering.”

Head teachers, including Vic Goddard, principal of Passmores Academy in Harlow, Essex, which featured in the television series Educating Essex and is situated in Halfon’s constituency, say the issue risks causing conflict because of polarised opinions in school communities.

Goddard tweeted: “I adore working for the @PassmoresAc and Harlow community (for over 20 years). It is an utter privilege. Now I am deliberately being put in to conflict with some of it by the actions of this government about masks when they are the ones with the information.”

He went on: “Everyone, inc the govt, knows that the issue will cause conflict due to the polarised views held and they are throwing me under the bus. Already had ‘human rights’ quoted, threats of litigation, reporting to Ofsted and to @halfon4harlowMP.”

Pupils' families in England to be tested for Covid twice a week

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The wearing of masks in classrooms and repeat Covid testing for secondary pupils are key new measures designed to give parents, pupils and teachers confidence when schools fully reopen next week, but that appears to have been undermined when the school standards minister, Nick Gibb, told TV interviewers last week .

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