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Boris Johnson asks to review the guidance as school will be reopen

Schools are about to reopen and wearing masks is an option that should be kept under control, but many argue that the measure is not necessary.

school mask Boris Johnson
Boris Johnson speaks about the use of masks when schools return.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is under pressure to introduce mask at school as teaching unions call for the Government to review its guidance. Pupils wearing masks is an option that should be kept under review, despite the Education Secretary insisting the measure is not needed.

Boris Johnson and the school reopening guide

An education union has called for the government to keep the issue of face masks in schools under review. The request comes after the Scottish Government is expected to state its decision on face coverings in schools. It was taken in light of the latest World Health Organisation (WHO) guidance that children aged 12 and over should wear a mask.

ASCL general secretary Geoff Barton said “We would expect the Government in Westminster to review its guidance on the use of face coverings in schools”. He believes that they are not required, in light of the WHO guidance and the consultation taking place in Scotland. Barton added that the evidence is clearly evolving on this issue and it is important that it is kept under review and that clear direction is provided to schools.

On Monday, a Number 10 spokesman said there were “no plans” to review the guidance on face coverings in schools. The spokesman also added that he understands that wearing facial coverage can hinder communication between teacher and students.

England’s deputy chief medical officer Jenny Harries has said the evidence on whether children over 12 should wear masks in schools was “not strong”, whilst Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said measures being adopted by schools to limit the spread of Covid-19 meant masks were not required.

Masks at school and social distance

The World Health Organisation’s advice suggests adults and children aged 12 and over should wear a mask. Especially when they cannot guarantee a one-metre distance from others and there is widespread transmission in the area.

The WHO and UN children’s agency Unicef suggested that face masks may be an alternative where the teacher and pupils need to see each other’s mouths in a class. Shadow education secretary Kate Green has already said the issue should be kept under review.

Meanwhile, a study suggested wearing face masks may have a negative effect on attitudes towards social distancing. It leads people to feel comfortable sitting or standing closer to others.

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