Face masks in schools England: Government guidance and rules over face coverings in schools

26 August 2020, 14:33

Face coverings have been made compulsory in Scottish schools
Face coverings have been made compulsory in Scottish schools. Picture: Getty Images

Will teenagers have to wear face masks when they go back to school in England? Here’s what we know…

After more than five months away from the classroom for many, children across the UK have already started returning to school.

While Scotland recently announced face coverings will be mandatory for secondary school pupils as of next week, many parents are unsure whether the same rules apply for the rest of the UK.

So will children have to wear face masks when they go back to school? Here’s what we know…

Will pupils have to wear face masks when schools reopen in England?

From Tuesday 1 September, secondary schools in areas of England where there are local lockdowns will have to ask staff and pupils to wear face coverings.

Face masks won't be mandatory in schools in England
Face masks won't be mandatory in schools in England. Picture: Getty Images

These should be worn by children over 12-years-old when moving around the building and in communal areas such as hallways.

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It will be up to the headmasters at all other secondary schools as to whether they require children and staff to wear masks.

The government website still states that wearing face masks in educational settings is not recommended on a blanket basis.

Pupils will be taught in their own separate ‘bubbles’ where they only work and socialise with their own classes.

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Northern Ireland has also recommended wearing face masks in secondary schools, while Wales is yet to clarify their guidance.

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This comes just days after Professor Russell Viner, a member of the Government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), recently said there was concern about younger children wearing face coverings.

He told BBC: “The evidence on masks is very unclear. And, actually, I think that’s in one sense, potentially going beyond the evidence we have.

“There are lots of concerns about mask wearing for children, particularly younger children. Because they touch their face, they are constantly worried about the mask, it actually could spread the virus more.”

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Some schools in England have made masks compulsory, with The Oasis Academy chain of 52 schools saying their pupils would have to wear masks in corridors and communal areas.

What are the face mask rules for children in Scotland?

Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon confirmed this week that wearing face coverings in corridors and communal areas of secondary schools will be mandatory.

Kids over the age of 12 will have to wear face masks while moving between classrooms, but not while they are in classrooms.

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