Pupils Must Wear Face Masks In Schools In England After Government U-Turn

26 August 2020, 09:58

Face masks must now be worn in communal areas of secondary schools in England
Face masks must now be worn in communal areas of secondary schools in England. Picture: Getty

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has backtracked over advice pupils should not wear face masks in secondary schools in England.

After growing pressure from headteachers and teaching unions, the government are now making face coverings mandatory in communal areas of secondary schools in England for locations subject to stricter coronavirus restrictions, such as Greater Manchester.

While headteachers will have discretion over the rules of face masks in schools in other parts of the country, the government is dropping guidance that they should not be worn.

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson made the u-turn after a change in advice from the World Health Organisation.

On 21 August the WHO said “children aged 12 and over should wear a mask under the same conditions as adults, in particular when they cannot guarantee at least a one-metre distance from others and there is widespread transmission in the area.”

The government’s decision comes after Scotland said secondary school pupils must wear masks in communal areas and on school buses.

Pupils across the country are set to return to school in a matter of days.

The Department for Education confirmed the change on Tuesday night, updating its guidance after a result of the WHO guidelines.

Pupils must wear face masks in communal areas of the school
Pupils must wear face masks in communal areas of the school. Picture: Getty

It said: “Nationwide, while the government is not recommending face coverings are necessary, schools will have the discretion to require face coverings in communal areas if they believe that is right in their particular circumstances.”

The Welsh government is also reviewing its advice on face coverings for pupils.

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