Secondary school pupils will have to keep wearing face masks in class as the drive to get more teens vaccinated continues – but are people supportive of the measures?
The Scottish Government confirmed on Tuesday the guidance on face coverings in schools would remain in place to allow more time for 12 to 15-year-olds to take up the Covid-19 vaccine.
Education secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville says there is “no room for complacency” in the fight against the coronavirus and insists the continuing in-school mitigations are as a result of advice from senior clinicians.
But how do The Courier and Evening Telegraph readers feel about the prospect of pupils having to wear masks in the classrooms this winter?
Results of our poll
Our poll, which went live last week, has revealed an overwhelming majority were AGAINST secondary pupils having to wear masks in classrooms.
More than 90% of those responding feel that masks should not be worn by youngsters in classrooms. This compares to a little over 5% who back the measures.
In total, 2,347 votes were cast in our poll, which asked “Should face coverings be worn in classrooms into the winter?”
There were 2,224 votes for no and just 123 votes for yes in our online survey.
Reacting on social media, one reader said: “Nobody should have to wear one unless they choose to, it should be up to each individual if they wear it or not.”
Another added: “It should be the same as in restaurants. Wear masks when moving around in school but take them off when sitting at a desk.”
Existing COVID-19 safety mitigations in schools are to remain for now, following advice from senior clinicians
Pupils will continue to be required to wear face coverings in secondary school classrooms as they begin to return from the Oct break
— ScotGov Education (@ScotGovEdu) October 19, 2021
However some were in favour of continuing the requirement for pupils to wear face coverings in class.
One person commented: “Yes. Schools, unlike most workplaces, are full of unvaccinated people, who have no option but to be there, interacting closely with one another and risk spreading and taking it home to vulnerable family members.”
Another reader added: “Yes of course. Why on earth would you treat a school differently to a supermarket? Especially when social distancing is nigh impossible.”
What measures are in place?
Secondary-aged pupils and staff in primary and secondary schools have to wear face coverings in schools, including the classroom, communal areas or when moving around the building.
Pupils also have to follow one way systems and social distancing where possible.
Scottish Government guidance also advises that staff should continue to avoid assemblies or large groupings of children.
These mitigations have been in place since the start of the school year in August.