England/May 18, 2021/By Will Hazell/Source: https://inews.co.uk/
One Manchester headteacher told i that the “majority” of his pupils were “still choosing to wear” masks, even though they are no longer compulsory
Students at secondary schools across most of England have been allowed to stop wearing masks as part of the loosening of Covid-19 restrictions.
However, certain areas have opted to retain face coverings in school because of the Indian variant, while elsewhere some pupils are continuing to wear them voluntarily.
Last week, Boris Johnson announced that masks would no longer be needed in secondary school classrooms or corridors in England from 17 May, as the country continues its exit from lockdown.
On Monday, schools appeared to be taking a range of approaches in relation to the new rules.
Sarah Brinkley, executive headteacher of John Mason School in Oxfordshire, told i that her school had decided to continue requiring masks in corridors, while making them voluntary in classrooms. She said the transition had gone “fine”.
James Eldon, the principal of Manchester Academy in Moss Side, Manchester, told i that even though masks were no longer required at his school, the “majority” of pupils were “still choosing to wear them”.
In some parts of England, stricter mask rules remain in place. In Greater Manchester, Bolton and Bury councils have made the decision to keep them in response to a local outbreak of the Indian variant.
And in the London Borough of Hounslow, the director of public health Kelly O’Neill, also urged schools to be “cautious” about following the Department for Education’s advice and to “use their discretion as the case numbers are increasing”.
In a letter to parents seen by i, she said: “I ask that parents and carers now trust and support the school to make a decision about the use of face masks in school going forward, which for some schools may be to continue with mask wearing.”
Some parents were nervous about the end of mask wearing. Elizabeth Stevens, a mother from Norfolk, told i that her two children were split on masks, with one “delighted to be rid of them” while the other was “happy to continue”.
Ms Stevens said she did not want her older son’s GCSE assessments to be “jeopardised by having to self isolate” in the last two weeks before half-term.
“The school have said that mask wearing is ‘optional’ and I would have liked mine both to continue wearing them, but they are very reluctant to do so unless they are mandated as they don’t want to be the odd ones out,” she said.
“I’m extremely nervous about the prospect of my children picking up the virus at school.”
Docente - Investigadora Educativa.
Doctora en Cs. de la Educación, Magíster en Desarrollo Curricular y Licenciada en Relaciones Industriales.