UK Education Secretary defends mask shift in UK schools
THE Education Secretary insisted the UK government was following “the best scientific and medical advice” after announcing a turnaround on UK guidelines for face coverings in schools.
Gavin Williamson said an “additional precautionary measure” has been put in place with updated guidelines – released last night – which state that face coverings must be worn in common areas of schools in lockdown areas local.
It follows pressure from teachers’ unions, who have urged for clarity before students return to school next week, and an announcement from Scotland that all secondary students will be required to wear masks between classes.
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England’s Deputy Chief Medical Officer Jenny Harries said on Monday that the evidence as to whether children over 12 should wear masks in schools was “not strong”.
Williamson then reiterated that the masks were not needed due to additional measures being taken by schools, while a spokesperson for Number 10 said there were no plans to revise the guidelines.
When asked what has changed, Mr Williamson told Sky News today: “We always follow and listen to the best scientific and medical advice, and that is why we do not recommend face coverings. are compulsory nationwide in all schools.
“The best scientific and medical opinions say it is not necessary.”
Pressed to find out whether the UK government followed Scotland in the decision, he said: “As you pointed out, what Jenny pointed out was that we should not introduce mandatory face coverings in common areas across the country in each high school.
“And that’s not what we do, but we recognize the fact that there are certain areas of the country where there is a high case, or a higher case, of the coronavirus, that we are taking a precautionary measure. additional.”
Williamson said the UK government was following recommendations from the World Health Organization (WHO), which advised masks be worn by children over 12.
Guidelines released today say that in local lockdown areas and in schools with students in grades 7 and up, face coverings should be worn by adults and students in hallways and common areas.
Coronavirus restrictions remain in place in the Greater Manchester, Lancashire and West Yorkshire, Leicester, Luton and Northampton areas.