All secondaries must make masks mandatory by Monday

News of face mask rule for communal areas comes after heads called for 'urgent review' of DfE's guidance in light of new national lockdown
4th November 2020, 3:18pm

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All secondaries must make masks mandatory by Monday

https://www.tes.com/magazine/archive/all-secondaries-must-make-masks-mandatory-monday
Mask-wearing In Secondary Schools

All secondary schools will be expected to make masks mandatory in communal spaces from tomorrow with the rule in place by Monday at the latest, the government has said.

Updated guidance published today by the Department for Education (DfE) states that in schools where students in Year 7 and above are educated, "face coverings should be worn by adults and pupils when moving around the premises, outside of classrooms, such as in corridors and communal areas where social distancing cannot easily be maintained".

The guidance says: "We would expect schools to ensure any changes required in light of national restrictions are in place as soon as practically possible, and by Monday 9 November at the latest."

The news comes after heads called for an "urgent review" of the DfE's guidance for schools in light of the new national measures.


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The DfE guidance states: "In primary schools and education settings teaching Year 6 and below, there is no change to the existing position. It is not mandatory for staff and visitors to wear face coverings.

"In situations where social distancing between adults in settings is not possible (for example when moving around in corridors and communal areas), settings have the discretion to recommend the use of face coverings for adults on site, for both staff and visitors.

"In schools where pupils in Year 7 and above are educated, face coverings should be worn by adults and pupils when moving around the premises, outside of classrooms, such as in corridors and communal areas where social distancing cannot easily be maintained. This was already the case for pupils in Year 7 and above, and staff and visitors for those schools that were in areas where local alert level  'high' and 'very high'.

"Some individuals are exempt from wearing face coverings and we expect adults and pupils to be sensitive to those needs.

"Face coverings should also be worn by pupils in Year 7 and above when travelling on dedicated school transport to secondary school or college."

The current local Covid alert level system has three tiers, for "medium" risk (Tier 1), "high" risk (Tier 2) and "very high" risk (Tier 3) areas. Each has increasingly tight restrictions, with Tier 3 being the most severe.

There is also a separate four-tier system for keeping schools open during local Covid-19 spikes that the DfE announced at the start of the academic year.

The DfE told Tes last month that areas given the Covid alert level of "high" risk or "very high" risk fall under Tier 1 of the school system, meaning secondary students and staff are expected to wear masks in communal areas.

Secondary schools in other "medium" areas still had the discretion to make masks mandatory in communal spaces.

However, tomorrow, the local Covid alert levels will become redundant, as the new national lockdown comes into effect.

When asked by Tes what this will mean for schools, the DfE had failed to provide an answer until this afternoon.

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