Dorset Secondary School Says Pupils Must Wear Face Masks In Class

The headteacher of Twynham School in Christchurch said the decision had been taken to protect students, staff and families.

A secondary school in Dorset has told parents that pupils will have to wear a face mask during lessons when they return to school next week.

In a move that has divided parents at Twynham School in Christchurch, headteacher Jy Taylor said “all students will be required to wear a face mask when they are inside any building” at the school – including the classroom.

Children with medical conditions that mean they should not wear face coverings will be exempt from the rule.

The latest government advice says that secondary schools and colleges have the power to decide whether face coverings should be worn by students in communal areas.

Meanwhile, in areas where there are local restrictions due to a surge in coronavirus cases, ministers have said pupils and staff “should” wear face masks in corridors and indoor areas where social distancing is hard.

But last week prime minister Boris Johnson branded the idea of using face coverings in the classroom “nonsensical”, saying “you can’t teach with face coverings, you can’t expect people to learn with face coverings”.

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In a letter to parents seen by HuffPost UK, headteacher Taylor said the decision had been made to protect students, staff and families and to prevent the possibility of large numbers of pupils having to self-isolate if someone in the school tested positive for Covid-19.

“Face coverings have become an everyday part of society and many of our students will be reassured by this decision,” he wrote.

“It seems very unlikely that children, if they do catch Covid-19, will become very ill. My concern is for parents, grandparents and our staff who are in daily contact with our children.”

While he admitted there were “some concerns” about children’s ability to communicate in the classroom, he said it was important to try and stem the rate of coronavirus transmission.

On social media, the reaction to the news – which was first reported by the Bournemouth Echo – was mixed.

Some parents welcomed the decision to make face coverings compulsory in the classroom, with one writing: “I am so relieved about this. My daughter and I both feel safer and reassured that the school are doing everything they can to protect us.”

Twynham School in Dorset has said students will be expected to wear face coverings in classrooms to avoid the spread of coronavirus
Twynham School in Dorset has said students will be expected to wear face coverings in classrooms to avoid the spread of coronavirus
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However, another mum – who asked to remain anonymous – told HuffPost UK she was worried her 12-year-old son’s concentration in lessons would be “horrendous”.

He already hates wearing face coverings in shops, she said. “In the classroom he will be constantly touching it, lifting it away from his face to take a breath etc.

“I’m not anti masks at all, I wear one in the shops etc. But I just don’t want my son to wear one in a classroom.

“The fact it goes against government guidelines is crazy. My son is a very healthy kid and I’m weighing up his risk of illness with his education.”

Last week Oasis Academy chain founder Steve Chalke said pupils at its 52 schools will wear face coverings in communal areas when they return, while teachers will also have to wear face masks.

Chalke said giving pupils visors and masks for moving in between lessons made schools “as Covid-safe as possible”.


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