PPE not needed in schools, government insists

Protective equipment is only needed in residential settings, says minister – despite a Tes survey showing staff want PPE

Catherine Lough and Dave Speck

Coronavirus: Will schools get PPE?

The local government secretary has said that teachers in non-residential schools do not "require" personal protective equipment to carry out their work safely.

Responding to a question on how teachers would be kept safe if schools were to reopen – and currently where they are supervising key workers' children and vulnerable pupils – local government secretary Robert Jenrick said staff in non-residential settings did not need PPE.

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”We have taken scientific advice with regard to the level of PPE that might be required in schools and, as I understand it, the advice is that staff in non-residential education settings don’t require PPE, but we will obviously keep that under close review," he said.

Coronavirus: Will schools get PPE?

He was speaking after 76 per cent of staff in a Tes survey said they wanted PPE to be given to all school staff, with just 8 per cent of respondents agreeing with current Department for Education guidance that teachers do not need PPE. 

Professor Yvonne Doyle, director of health protection for Public Health England, added that there had been a "lot of debate" regarding the use of face masks in schools.

"They are probably helpful to protect others from yourself when you’re not well, when you’re exuding droplets – but they have to be worn properly and people always forget that face masks are not actually what is going to contain the virus wholly," she said.

"It is a whole package of issues like good hygiene, particularly hand hygiene, particularly how you interact your hand with your face, and equally how the school environment is kept clean and disinfected and how the children are spaced “

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Catherine Lough and Dave Speck

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