To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will publish the advice which informed the decision not to make the wearing of face coverings by pupils aged 12 and over a requirement in schools in England.
The Department’s priority is for pupils to safely return to schools and colleges and we have taken the latest medical and scientific advice into account at each stage of responding to the COVID-19 outbreak.
On 21 August 2020, the World Health Organisation published a new statement (https://www.who.int/news-room/q-a-detail/q-a-children-and-masks-related-to-covid-19) advising that children aged 12 and over should wear face coverings under the same condition as adults, in particular when they cannot guarantee at least a 1 metre distance from others and there is widespread transmission in the area. As a result, the Department has revised its guidance on face coverings in schools and colleges. The guidance for schools can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools.
It is reasonable to assume that staff and young people will now have access to face coverings due to their increasing use in wider society, and Public Health England has made available resources on how to make a simple face covering.