Prime minister Boris Johnson announced yesterday that the wearing of face masks in secondary school classrooms would no longer be a requirement for either students or staff from Monday 17 May.
At a Scottish government coronavirus briefing today, however, first minister Nicola Sturgeon said that the rules on face coverings in schools would remain unchanged in Scotland, although expert advisers would explore the possibility of changing them over the coming weeks.
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Currently, face coverings must be routinely worn in Scottish secondary schools, after a change of approach in April that lessened the reliance on physical distancing in schools.
Ms Sturgeon, in response to a question about face coverings at the Covid briefing this afternoon, said that "in relation to schools, we will be asking the education sub-group that advises us on these issues in schools to look at this also over the next couple of weeks, so that it may be that we are able to say something on face coverings in schools".
But she added that "I don't want to pre-empt that work that we have asked our expert advisers to do".
Masks are to continue being worn in secondaries in Scotland when restrictions are eased on Monday - but gov expert group has been asked to look at whether this should continue https://t.co/WxSrwfd6DG— Emma Seith (@Emma_Seith) May 11, 2021
Ms Sturgeon also said that concern over the number of Covid cases in Moray were "a reminder that we need to be really careful about this".
The Moray outbreak had had an impact on schools, the first minister said, and were "an important reminder that mitigations in schools continue to be important".
She added: "But equally I know, from the young people in my own life as well as more generally, that young people don't like wearing face masks while they're in school all of the time, so if it is safe to move away from that we are keen to do it – but we've got to take, I think, the right advice on that and make sure we are reaching a decision that takes all of that into account."