Commenting on the decision to ease Covid restrictions in England from 17 May, including the lifting of requirements for face coverings in schools and colleges, Kevin Courtney, Joint General Secretary of the National Education Union, said:
"It is disappointing that Boris Johnson has ignored the advice of SAGE’s modellers to keep the use of face masks in the classroom, as well as communal areas in secondary schools and colleges. (1) The NEU along with everyone else looks forward to the time when they are no longer necessary, but we are not out of the woods yet. Face masks help with suppressing transmission of the virus and therefore help to minimise the disruption caused when pupils or staff have to self-isolate.
"Schools and colleges are doing a very good job of keeping students and staff safe and they should be permitted to retain mask wearing in the classroom if they think it necessary for reasons such as a rise in local infection rates. This would be an entirely reasonable and responsible decision."
SPI-M-O: Consensus Statement on COVID-19, 21st April 2021 (see points 18 and 19): https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/984091/S1205_SPI-M-O_Consensus_Statement.pdf
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