As new evidence or data emerges, the Government updates its advice accordingly to ensure that all our schools and colleges have the right safety measures in place.
The Department recently published updated guidance for schools to support the return to full attendance from 8 March 2021, which includes updated advice on face coverings. The guidance can be found at the following link: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/schools-coronavirus-covid-19-operational-guidance.
As our updated guidance outlines, in primary schools, face coverings should be worn by staff and adult visitors in situations where social distancing between adults is not possible, for example, when moving around in corridors and communal areas. Children in primary school do not need to wear a face covering.
Some individuals are exempt from wearing face coverings. This applies to those who cannot put on, wear or remove a face covering because of a physical or mental illness or impairment, or disability, or if you are speaking to or providing assistance to someone who relies on lip reading, clear sound or facial expression to communicate. The same exemptions should be applied in schools, and we would expect teachers and other staff to be sensitive to those needs.
We continue to work closely with Public Health England and the Department of Health and Social Care and stakeholders across the sector to ensure that our policy is based on the latest scientific and medical advice.
These measures will be in place until Easter. We will keep this under review and update guidance at that point.