Gibb: Science says no masks needed for teens in schools

Minister says apparent inconsistency between lack of over-11 masks policy for schools compared to shops and transport is based on science

William Stewart

girl wearing a mask

A minister has defended the government’s policy of saying over-11s do not need to wear masks in schools, even though they are required to inside shops and on public transport.

Asked about the discrepancy this morning – recently questioned by a teaching union – schools minister Nick Gibb said: "As I said, we are led by the science."

Asked on BBC radio specifically why there should be a difference between schools and shops, he added: "Well, that is what the science tells us.

"Within a school, of course, you're not with people that you don't meet normally, you see these same children every day, so there are different circumstances – when you're on public transport for example, when you're encountering people you've not come across or met before.


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"And that is why you have different rules and things like face coverings for public transport and being in shops from where you are with the same people in the same bubble day in and day out.

"And that is why the rules are different."

Last week, the NASUWT teaching union argued that the government’s recent announcements requiring the wearing of face coverings on public transport and in shops had highlighted the need for similar protections to be in place in schools.

NASUWT general secretary Patrick Roach told the Telegraph that the government’s guidance for schools was “now out of step with wider public health guidance” and that there was “a strong argument” that face masks should be made compulsory for secondary school children from September.

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William Stewart

William Stewart

William Stewart is News editor at Tes

Find me on Twitter @wstewarttes

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