Letter to Gavin Williamson

Because of concerns that the Government is planning to relax current face covering arrangements from 17 May, the NEU has joined forces with a wide coalition of scientists, led by Dr Deepti Gurdasani, Senior Lecturer in Clinical Epidemiology at Queen Mary University of London, supported by education trade unions, other organisations and individuals, to seek to urge Gavin Williamson to consider the global and national evidence on current infection rates in schools when making decisions about use of face coverings in schools and colleges.

Decisions on lifting of restrictions should be taken based on data, not dates, and whilst there is still significant community transmission, face coverings, alongside other measures such as improved ventilation, are an essential part of the wider control system in schools and colleges.  Masks help keep students and staff safe and are also part of the overall effort to reduce community transmission and allow the safe lifting of restrictions to be achieved as soon as possible. They also minimise educational disruption, allowing students to remain in school and protect household members, including clinically vulnerable contacts from onward risk of infection.

To remove these restrictions prematurely would be foolhardy.