From Monday, secondary school pupils in Scotland will no longer need to wear face masks in the classroom.
It marks the end of guidance that has been in place since October 2020 and it’s been said that it represents “a return to a more normal school experience”.
But what else is changing next week and what has the reaction been so far? We have outlined the updated guidance from the Scottish Government below.
What is happening next week?
From Monday secondary school pupils and staff will not be required to wear face coverings in classrooms.
Pupils will still need to wear masks in communal areas and when moving around inside school buildings.
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The Scottish Government has also said that teachers and pupils who wish to continue to wear a face covering in the classroom “should be fully supported in doing so”.
Restrictions on school assemblies and transition visits for pupils who will start primary or secondary in August 2022 will also be eased from Monday.
What has the reaction been?
Announcing the changes earlier this month, Nicola Sturgeon said it represented “a further step in allowing our children and young people to return to a more normal school experience”.
However Scotland’s largest teaching union, the Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS), has said lifting the guidance on face coverings should have come at the end of March.
David Farmer, Fife EIS publicity officer, said: “The EIS both nationally and locally would have hoped that the removal of face masks would have happened at the end of March, giving the summer term in secondary schools a very different feel.”
“This change represents a further step in allowing our children and young people to return to a more normal school experience after many months of sacrifice.”
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon
“The timing of political decisions, we acknowledge, is a matter for the government. At a time when case numbers remain stubbornly high, such a decision might well prove a hostage to fortune.
“We do feel that the continuation of face coverings for the medically vulnerable is a positive but wonder how long it will be before these students and our members are being pressured?
“In terms of school assemblies and visitors to school the proper risk assessment of these issues are matters we as a trade-union need to raise urgently with the education service in Fife Council.”