Coronavirus (COVID-19)—guidance on face coverings in schools to be revised

Coronavirus (COVID-19)—guidance on face coverings in schools to be revised

The Department for Education (DfE) has announced that it will update its advice on face coverings in schools amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The decision to update the guidance comes in response to a new statement from the World Health Organisation (WHO) which details that children aged 12 and over should wear a mask under the same conditions as adults, particularly when they cannot guarantee at least a 1-metre distance from others and there is widespread transmission in the area. As such, the DfE, in its revised guidance, will advise that staff and children in Year 7 or above in England should wear face coverings. The updated guidance on face coverings in all education settings will be published ‘shortly’ and will come into effect from 1 September 2020. The guidance will apply to ‘further education colleges and will be reflected in guidance to universities, but not to children in primary schools where the risks to children are lower.

In areas where transmission of coronavirus is high, the government’s guidance will state that ‘face coverings should be worn by adults and pupils in secondary schools when moving around the school, such as in corridors and communal areas where social distancing is difficult to maintain’.

Face coverings in the classroom will not be necessary as ‘protective measures already mean the risks are lower, and where they can inhibit learning’.

The DfE also stated that: ‘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.’

WHO’s statement on children and face coverings can be read here.

Source: Update on face coverings in schools

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