Voice Community – the education section of Community union – has called for the currentguidance on face coverings in secondary schools to continue beyond 17 May, following media speculation that it will be relaxed.
Deborah Lawson, Assistant General Secretary of Community (Voice Community section) said:
“Although cases of COVID-19 are falling generally, there have been outbreaks in a number of schools recently, involving hundreds of staff and pupils, and there is a risk that relaxing rules and restrictions makes people less careful.
“Scientists from the Independent SAGE group have warned that current vaccination levels and other measures are not sufficient to mitigate the risk of transmission among children and in the community.
“Face coverings are still required in shops and on public transport.
“Students, children and many working in the education sector have yet to be vaccinated or have only received one dose – despite our calls for education staff to be prioritised.
“Recent surveys have highlighted that wearing a face covering makes the majority of our members who responded feel safer in the classroom, so we have advised the Department for Education that we would like face coverings to remain in use until the evidence indicates they are no longer needed, and in line with other indoor activities, such as shopping.
“Voice Community believes that if members want to wear a face mask, or deem it necessary in their place of work, they should continue to do so and should not be prevented from wearing one.
“However, schools and staff should continue to consider transparent face coverings or other forms of PPE where appropriate for those children who rely on lip reading, such as the deaf and hearing impaired.”