Face masks still needed in Scottish schools next week

Nicola Sturgeon announces widespread easing of Covid restrictions, but face coverings still required in schools

Henry Hepburn

Masks still needed in Scottish schools next week

Face coverings will still have to be worn in Scottish schools from Monday, despite the easing of many Covid restrictions on that day.

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.

Background: Masks to be worn ‘at all times’ in Scottish secondary schools

In England: Boris Johnson says pupil masks in schools can come off from 17 May

Following the science: 'Very worrying' school masks plan 'contradicts science'

Coronavirus: Keep masks in schools until at least June

Also today: Result deadline delay for ‘unduly disadvantaged’ pupils

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".

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."

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Henry Hepburn

Henry Hepburn

Henry Hepburn is the news editor for Tes Scotland

Find me on Twitter @Henry_Hepburn

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