Scottish Government consulting on recommendation for face coverings in secondary schools
The Scottish Government is in the “final stages of consulting with teachers and local authorities” on recommending the use of face coverings in secondary schools when pupils are moving around the building, Nicola Sturgeon has announced.
At least three Scottish secondaries – James Gillespie’s High School in Edinburgh, Grantown Grammar School in Grantown on Spey and Millburn Academy in Inverness – have already made it compulsory for pupils to wear face coverings between classes.
The First Minister said if the guidance comes in, face coverings would only be required in corridors and communal areas, not in classrooms.
She said this was because mixing between different groups was more likely in corridors and shared spaces, as was crowding and close contact.
Voices could be raised there, creating more potential for aerosol transmission, and there was less scope for ventilation in those parts of the school.
In the classroom, she said there was “greater scope for physical distancing” and face coverings might interfere with teaching and learning.
However, Sturgeon added that where there was an outbreak, incident management teams could recommend more extensive use of face coverings for a period if they believed that was necessary.
On Friday, the World Health Organization and UNICEF advised that children aged 12 and over should wear a mask under the same conditions as adults, in particular when they could not keep at least a one-metre distance from others and where there is widespread transmission.
“This is a position if we conclude it, as we expect to do, that would reflect and actually go slightly beyond current WHO guidance,” the First Minister said.
The Scottish Government is still considering its position on face coverings on school transport and will set out its conclusions in the next few days.