The Government has confirmed that face coverings should continue to be worn in England’s secondary school and college classrooms after the Easter break until at least 17 May.
The measure has been described by the Government as precautionary, and it expects that the wearing of face coverings will no longer be required in classrooms or other school communal areas at step 3 of the lockdown easing roadmap, which is due to begin no earlier than 17 May.
Education Secretary Gavin Williamson had promised to review the wearing of masks in schools. The wearing of face coverings has been required in classrooms since schools returned in England last month, though face coverings have been required in communal school areas such as corridors since November.
Commenting on the news, Professor John Simpson, Head of Public Health Advice, Guidance and Expertise Pillar (PHAGE) at Public Health England said “Wearing face coverings in secondary schools is an extra control measure to reduce the risk of transmission to support children continuing their education in the classroom.”
The Department for Education has said that those who are currently exempt from wearing face coverings will remain so, including pupils and staff who are speaking to or providing assistance to someone who relies on lip reading, facial expressions or clear sound in order to communicate.