Face masks no longer required in classrooms

  • Wed, 12 May 2021 11:19:20 GMT
  • 571

Face coverings have been recommended since the return to school in March - but that will end as part of the phasing out of lockdown measures.

There have been concerns that masks obstruct communicating and learning.

But head teachers warned the decision to remove masks was "hard to reconcile" with the evidence on safety.

About half of students have been studying online since January - and they will be able to return to face-to-face teaching, although some courses might already have effectively stopped teaching by this stage of the university year.

Leaving lockdown

The next stage of relaxing lockdown measures in England, to be implemented from 17 May, will mean that pupils will no longer be expected to wear face coverings in classrooms and in communal areas of schools.

Mr Johnson suggested the improving picture on the pandemic meant that the roadmap for unlocking could go ahead as planned.

Wearing a mask during lessons has been one of many sacrifices children have made over the last year in our fight against the pandemic and I know they will welcome this latest step towards a return to normal school life.

Last week a group of scientists and unions, including the National Education Union, wrote to the Department for Education to say they were "extremely concerned" at the prospect of face coverings no longer being required in secondary schools.

They argued that masks were still required in shops and public transport and there was a lack of evidence that it was time to withdraw their use in schools.

Kevin Courtney of the National Education Union said schools "should be permitted to retain mask wearing in the classroom if they think it necessary".

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