Exclusive: Masks mandatory in hundreds more secondaries

The rule on wearing face masks will change for at least 600 schools in London, Essex and York from Monday
15th October 2020, 4:46pm

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Exclusive: Masks mandatory in hundreds more secondaries

https://www.tes.com/magazine/archive/exclusive-masks-mandatory-hundreds-more-secondaries
Coronavirus: The Rules On Wearing Face Masks Are To Change From Monday For Hundreds Of Secondary Schools In London, Essex & York

Hundreds more secondary schools will have to make face masks compulsory in their communal areas from Monday, Tes can reveal.

All secondaries in areas due to move into the "high" Covid alert level over the weekend, including London, Essex and York, will be affected by the change.

This is because the change in these areas' designation means their schools also have to move into the first level of the separate tiered system of school restrictions.

The government guidance for these "tier one" schools states that "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".


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Secondaries in London, Essex and York are currently able to decide for themselves whether to insist on face masks being worn in their communal areas. But that will change from next week.

Coronavirus: Face masks in secondary schools

Heads' leaders have described the government's decision to have two independent tiered systems of Covid restrictions operating at the same time as "baffling".

But Tes was eventually able to obtain an explanation from the Department for Education (DfE) on how they will interact.

The new local Covid alert level system has three tiers, for medium (tier one), high-risk (tier two) and very high-risk (tier three) areas. Each has increasingly tight restrictions, with tier three 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.

If an area has been placed in tier one of the school system, secondary pupils and staff are expected to wear masks in communal areas.

The DfE has told Tes today that areas given the Covid alert level of "high-risk" or "very high-risk" will fall under this tier.

This means masks will become compulsory in secondary schools in these areas.

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

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