School pupils could be allowed to take off their face masks in class in as little as three weeks’ time.
Secondary school pupils have had to wear face coverings ever since the end of the second full lockdown in spring 2021 in a bid to stop the spread of coronavirus.
However sources have told The Scottish Mail on Sunday that experts have told Scottish ministers it is safe to ditch face masks during lessons.
This comes after Professor Jason Leitch, Scotland’s national clinical director, said “the day is coming” when face masks would no longer be needed in schools.
Speaking on BBC Sunday Morning, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon says she hopes face masks will not be needed for months or years to come, saying “I don’t want any of these measures to be in place for any longer than is necessary”.
Desire to remove face masks
The source told the Mail: “It’s unlikely to be put off for more than three weeks.
“There is political pressure on the government and it is hard to see how they can maintain the requirement to wear face coverings in class for any more than that.
“There is a real desire to remove that requirement as soon as possible.”
They added: “Experts may take the view that in crowded areas they’d be encouraging face coverings – however, it looks like they will remove the requirement to wear them in class.
“The real decision is when it happens and whether they go gradually or remove all mitigations at once.”
This comes after our poll found 88% of people do not want school pupils to continue to have to wear face masks.
Teaching union remains wary
The EIS teaching union does however remain wary, and says there needs to be “strong evidence” for removing the need for pupils to wear face coverings.
A spokesman for the EIS said: “The mitigations in place are intended to help make our schools safe places to learn and to work.
“Any review is entirely dependent on the level of Covid infections.
“Given the current high levels, the retention of the pre-summer mitigations has proven to be invaluable and there would need to be strong evidence before any change.”