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Welsh Government commits £2.3m to provide secondary school and further education learners with free face masks

Welsh Government commits £2.3m to provide secondary school and further education learners with free face masks

The Welsh Government has committed more than £2.3m in order to provide free face coverings for all learners in Wales' secondary schools and further education settings. 

The significant commitment comes after new guidance in which the Chief Medical Officer for Wales recommended the use of face coverings for all members of the public over 11 years old in indoor settings where social distancing cannot be maintained - including in schools and on school transport.

The commitment will see £1.8m of funding ringfenced for schools and £469,000 ringfenced for further education settings.

Announcing the news, Education Minister Kirsty Williams said; 

"It is vital children and young people, parents and the education workforce feel confident that all measures are being taken to protect them as they return to schools and colleges."

Governments in the UK recently changed their guidance on the use of face coverings following new guidance from the World Health Organization.

In Scotland, pupils aged over 12 years old have had to wear face coverings in corridors, communal areas and school buses since August 31st. In Wales, the advice was later updated for children aged 11 and over to wear masks in such locations, though the change did not make their use mandatory.

Schools and local authorities in Wales are required to undertake risk assessments of their sites to make a decision on whether face coverings should be recommended for use by staff and young people in communal areas.

 

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