Scotland to make face coverings compulsory in secondary schools

Secondary school students in Scotland will be obliged to wear face coverings in corridors, communal areas and on buses from Monday, the education secretary has confirmed.

John Swinney told the BBC’s Good Morning Scotland that students should wear masks in areas where physical distancing is not possible.

Mr Swinney said the Scottish government’s measures go further than World Health Organisation (WHO) guidance by also recommending the wearing of masks on school buses.

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He told listeners: “We’re recommending in the guidance that will be published later on today that from 31 August young people over the age of 12 at secondary schools should be habitually wearing face coverings when they’re moving around schools and corridors and communal areas where it is difficult to deliver the physical distancing.”

Students will not be required to wear face coverings in classrooms where social distancing measures are in place.

The WHO advises that children aged 12 and over should wear face coverings, especially if they cannot maintain at least a one-metre distance from others and there is widespread transmission in their area.

Elsewhere in the UK, the debate over face coverings in schools continues ahead of the return of students next week.

A headteachers’ union has called on the government in Westminster to review its mask policy in light of the new WHO guidance.

“The evidence is clearly evolving on this issue and it is important that it is kept under review and that clear direction is provided to schools,” Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders told The Daily Telegraph.

Students in England and Wales have not been advised to wear masks. A spokesperson from Number 10 said on Monday there were “no plans” to review the guidance, adding: ”We are conscious of the fact that it would obstruct communication between teachers and pupils.”

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