Millions of secondary school pupils returning to class will have to wear face masks at school after Boris Johnson performed a policy U-turn.
With schools reopening next month, the government has changed its guidance.
The news comes just 24 hours after the government said face masks would not be made compulsory at school.
Where will children have to wear face masks?
As a result of the new guidance, pupils attending secondary school in areas of England under local lockdown will have to wear face masks in communal areas.
These are classed as places where social distancing is difficult, like corridors.
Children won’t be required to wear them in the classroom, where they could “inhibit learning”.
Elsewhere, head teachers in any secondary school in the country will be given the “flexibility” to introduce the wearing of face masks at their school.
Education secretary Gavin Williamson broke the news of the U-turn on Sky News this morning (August 26).
He said the PM was listening to the “latest medical and scientific advice” and taking “the most precautionary approach”.
For most areas of England, the Department of Education advises against face masks at school.
However, schools will be able to make their own decision on the use of face masks and ask both staff and pupils to wear them.
When does the guidance come into force?
The new guidelines come into force from September 1.
What’s more, “stricter guidance” on face masks could be extended to all schools “if the rate of transmission increases across the whole country”.
A week before my daughter starts senior school you now want to add in the ridiculousness of wearing a mask.
Parents have reacted angrily to the news.
“Children need to be allowed to be children in school!” one parent ranted.
“They will be going there to get away from this sh*t show, yet they will have a constant reminder of what going on! Get back to normality not a new normal!” they added.
Like making new friends on the first day of a new school isn’t going to hard enough, now with the barrier and awkwardness of a face mask. How will they strike up conversation, smile, or chat to each other at break time if they’re all masked-up 😣
— Tiffany Malpas 🐝 (@tiffersus) August 25, 2020
A week before my daughter starts senior school you now want to add in the ridiculousness of wearing a mask even though she went to school in the peak of June and July without one ! SMH
— 💋 (@_becki_d) August 25, 2020
“Child abuse,” another slammed.
“Absolutely fuming,” said another.
“Good luck enforcing it”
“Well if my daughter’s school ask them to wear masks I say no! I am saddened by this U-Turn. We knew this will happen but no one will listen. No one is listening to the people!” another ranted.
“The discretion thing is a bit odd to me. Headteachers, as intelligent and well intentioned as I’m sure they are, aren’t really qualified to be making what is basically a medical decision,” another offered.
“Good luck enforcing it, my kids won’t be wearing masks to school,” another declared.
Others hit out specifically at the PM.
One Brit tweeted: “Could we not perform a U-turn on making him Prime Minister?”
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