Mandatory Masks Return to Secondary Schools

In a late addition to the raft of Covid restrictions announced by the Prime Minister yesterday, the Department for Education has issued new guidance today requiring secondary school students to wear masks in communal areas starting tomorrow. MailOnline has more.

The DfE sent an email update to schools and childcare providers which said: “Face coverings should be worn in communal areas in all settings by staff, visitors and pupils or students in Year 7 and above, unless they are exempt.

“Pupils or students (in Year 7 or above) should continue to wear face coverings on public and dedicated school transport, unless they are exempt.”

The update comes after the UK Health and Security Agency (UKHSA) said an individual, who is longer in the country, tested positive for the Omicron variant after travelling to Westminster in London and the infection was “linked to travel to southern Africa”.

Worth reading in full.

I wonder why this wasn’t announced yesterday? Is it because the Government knew it would play badly in the Sunday newspapers and on the Sunday morning talk shows? It has essentially sneaked the news out late on Sunday.

Needless to say, it makes zero sense. After all, if the Omicron variant is actually less dangerous than the Delta variant – and all the evidence we’ve amassed about it so far suggests it is – then shouldn’t we be encouraging schoolchildren to catch it so they can then experience a mild, cold-like illness and thereafter enjoy better protection against COVID-19 than if they’d been vaccinated? That is, the small number of schoolchildren who haven’t already caught and recovered from the virus?

As a parent of three children who will have to wear masks in school tomorrow, I am livid.

Stop Press: Those refusing to wear masks in shops and on public transport face being fined £200, rising to £400 for a second offence – the same penalty system as before. The Telegraph has more.

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