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Responding to the confirmation that secondary pupils are be asked to wear face coverings while moving around schools and in communal areas, along with on school transport, Dr Patrick Roach, General Secretary of the NASUWT-The Teachers’ Union, said:

“The NASUWT has always been clear that the Government must follow the scientific evidence and advice to mitigate the risks of Covid-19 within schools and it is right that guidance is kept under review to in light of changing trends and evidence.

“There is little doubt this revised guidance is in response to the practical difficulties schools are experiencing in maintaining effective social distancing practices, together with a number of reported incidences of Coronavirus transmission following the full reopening of schools in Scotland.

“However, this announcement runs the risk of causing uncertainty and confusion. 

“Where schools are unable to ensure effective social distancing, other measures will need to be introduced to protect health and safety. However, if wearing face masks or face coverings in schools is now deemed appropriate in order to safeguard health and safety, then it is difficult to understand why this practice has not been made compulsory.”

Jane Peckham, NASUWT National Official Scotland, said:

“PPE is only effective if it is used correctly. Face masks that are not used or stored appropriately may have adverse impacts for individuals and for wider health protection.

“Face masks are not a substitute for stringent social distancing, good hand hygiene and enhanced cleaning of surfaces by appropriately trained staff.

“The Government must look seriously at the root cause of the outbreaks in schools whilst also ensuring that any mitigating measures introduced will deliver the outcomes intended.”

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