Pupils aged over 12 years old in Scotland will have to wear face coverings in corridors, communal areas and school buses from next week, Education Secretary John Swinney has said.
Pupils of secondary, special and grant-aided schools in Scotland will be subject to the new guidance, which will require the wearing of face coverings from Monday 31 August.
Speaking to BBC Radio Scotland, Mr Swinney said;
“From August 31st young people over the age of 12 in secondary schools should habitually wearing face coverings when they are moving around schools and corridors and in communal areas where it is difficult to deliver the physical distancing, which is an inherent part of the guidance the education recovery group has put in place.”
The wearing of face coverings will not be required in other areas, such as classrooms where social distancing measures are already in place, and some people will be exempt for specific health reasons.
The announcement about the change in guidance comes after pupils returned to schools in Scotland earlier this month, after spending months at home due to the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic.
Scotland’s announcement comes as questions are being asked about what the policy will be on face coverings in schools in England.
Mr Swinney said that the change in guidance in Scotland follows recent guidance issued by the World Health Organization, which recommends that children over the age of 12 should wear face masks in the same ways as adults. Exactly how the virus spreads among the younger population is unknown, though some evidence has suggested that teenagers can infect others with the virus.