Australia markets open in 8 hours 12 minutes
  • ALL ORDS

    7,552.10
    -40.60 (-0.53%)
     
  • AUD/USD

    0.7590
    +0.0036 (+0.48%)
     
  • ASX 200

    7,298.50
    -43.70 (-0.60%)
     
  • OIL

    73.51
    +0.66 (+0.91%)
     
  • GOLD

    1,786.50
    +9.10 (+0.51%)
     
  • BTC-AUD

    44,345.02
    +2,855.27 (+6.88%)
     
  • CMC Crypto 200

    808.58
    -1.62 (-0.20%)
     

School coronavirus face mask rule to be lifted despite warnings

·2-min read
Coronavirus – Mon Mar 8, 2021 (PA Wire)
Coronavirus – Mon Mar 8, 2021 (PA Wire)

The Education Secretary has said the Government is planning to lift the face mask requirement for secondary school pupils in England despite opposition from unions.

Gavin Williamson told the Telegraph that the Government planned to remove the measure at step three of its road map out of lockdown, which will be no earlier than May 17.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to make the announcement on Monday, according to the newspaper.

It comes as a group of unions and scientists wrote to Mr Williamson calling for face coverings to remain in schools until at least June 21, describing the measure as “an essential part of the wider system of control in schools”.

But Mr Williamson told the Telegraph: “As infection rates continue to decline and our vaccination programme rolls out successfully, we plan to remove the requirement for face coverings in the classroom at step three of the road map.”

PA Wire
PA Wire

He added: “Removing face masks will hugely improve interactions between teachers and students, while all other school safety measures will remain in place to help keep the virus out of classrooms.”

The letter to Mr Williamson, from five unions representing teachers and support staff, as well as scientists, public health experts and parents, highlights concerns about the risks of developing long Covid, warning that an estimated 43,000 children and 114,000 school staff are thought to be suffering from the condition.

The letter said: “To strip these necessary protections, when there are already too few mitigation measures in schools, and when rates of Covid-19 are still significant, would have consequences for the health of our children and their parents as well as their communities.”

A Department for Education spokesperson said: “As infection rates continue to decline and our vaccination programme rolls out successfully, we plan to remove the requirement for face coverings in the classroom in line with step three of the road map.

“Virus transmission in schools continues to drop, with the latest data showing a significant decrease in students and staff testing positive and cases isolated quickly thanks to our twice-weekly rapid testing programme.”

Read More

Masks should remain in secondary schools beyond May, unions and scientists say

All schools should join academy chains to end ‘pick and mix’ system – Williamson

Government urged to take tougher action to protect students from anti-Semitism

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting