Primary school children are not required to wear face masks, and from the 17th May pupils will no longer be required to wear face coverings in the classroom in secondary schools and colleges.
Primary school children are still exempt from wearing face masks and parents are advised NOT to send their young child to school wearing a face covering or mask. This is because, when not used correctly, they can actually increase the risk of infection. Expecting a young child to be able to manage their face covering for a full school day is an unrealistic expectation.
For example, a child that is hot and uncomfortable in a mask will touch it and pull it down for comfort and to aid communication with others. This would increase the risk of passing any potential infection from the outside of the mask to their hands and on to others in the environment.
Secondary school guidance
There will still be measures in place to keep children in secondary schools and colleges as safe as possible, with protective measures such as ventilation, social distancing and regular testing continuing as before. Government advice can be found here.
All students, families and teachers should keep testing themselves twice weekly, to help reduce the risk of transmission.
Staff are not required to wear face coverings in the classroom but should continue to wear them in communal areas such as the staff room.
Public health experts have advised that schools ask pupils to continue to wear face coverings when moving around communal indoor spaces such as school corridors where it would be difficult to maintain social distancing.
The reintroduction of face coverings for pupils, students or staff may be advised for a temporary period in response to particular localised outbreaks, including variants of concern.
This may be a worrying time of change for lots of parents and children, and the subject of masks is something many parents have questions about. If your child isn’t comfortable removing their mask in class just yet, speak to their school or college for guidance.
The recommendation to wear face coverings in classrooms was introduced as a precautionary, temporary measure at a time where rates of coronavirus were high in the community, the school and college regular testing regime was about to begin, and the vaccine programme was in its early stages.
In some areas, local authorities may advise that parents still wear a face covering while on the school grounds.
Public Health England recommend that the best way to reduce the risk of infection is by maintaining 2 metre social distance with people outside of your household and washing hands more often for 20 seconds.
Check out our tips on how to make handwashing effective and fun.
Your child’s school will have put in place procedures to support your child in maintaining good hand washing practice while at school.