What are the rules on face masks in schools from May 17?

11 May 2021, 10:38 | Updated: 11 May 2021, 10:52

Masks in schools: will school students need to wear face coverings in school when England goes into stage three of lockdown-easing on May 17.

Boris Johnson has officially confirmed that England will move into its third stage of lockdown-easing on May 17.

Read more: All the businesses allowed to open on May 17 in England - and those which must stay shut

Speaking from a Downing Street press conference on Monday, the Prime Minister praised the efforts of the public so far, adding: "It’s precisely because of your efforts that I can confirm today we have met our four tests for further easing of lockdown in England."

After announcing that we'd move into stage three on May 17 as planned, he outlined the new rules that will come in on that date - one of which concerned the matter of face masks in schools.

Here's your need-to-know.

Secondary school students are currently asked to wear face coverings in classrooms
Secondary school students are currently asked to wear face coverings in classrooms. Picture: Getty

What will the rules on face masks in schools be on May 17?

Boris Johnson has confirmed that students will not longer be asked to wear face coverings in classrooms and communal areas from May 17.

Face coverings have been recommended for secondary school students since schools reopened for all pupils in March.

The Department for Education said "the latest data shows infection rates continuing to decrease" and added that not having to wear masks would "improve interaction between teachers and students".

Geoff Barton, leader of the ASCL head teachers' union, added, according to the BBC: "It is obviously better for communication and learning if we don't need to have children wearing face masks in classrooms.

What other new rules come in on May 17?

For a full rundown on everything you can and can't do from Monday May 17, click here.

Students will no longer be asked to wear face masks from May 17
Students will no longer be asked to wear face masks from May 17. Picture: PA

"But any decision to this effect must follow the scientific advice, and it is very worrying that the government's decision appears to contradict the published evidence."

"We don't understand why the government is in such a rush over this issue."

Paul Whiteman, leader of the National Association of Head Teachers, said: "Parents, pupils and staff will want to understand why removing the requirement for face coverings in classrooms is considered appropriate when it is not for other enclosed spaces."

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