Facemasks in class to be scrapped at Lanarkshire schools as government guidance changes

School pupils across Lanarkshire will no longer need to wear facemasks in school classrooms after the mid-term break.

The Scottish Government today announced that regulations for classrooms will be eased from February 28 onwards.

Face coverings will still be required in communal areas, subject to future review, while teachers and pupils can still wear face coverings in class if they wish.

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First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “In recent weeks I have promised to keep Parliament and school communities updated on mitigations within schools – including the use of face coverings within classrooms.

“I have been clear that we do not want to keep these measures in place for any longer than is necessary, but that we must continue to be led by scientific and expert advice.

“On Tuesday our advisory subgroup on education and children’s issues met to discuss a number of issues, including the use of face coverings.

“The group reiterated its previous position that the removal of mitigations in schools should follow a phased approach.

Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon during First Minster's Questions at the Scottish Parliament in Holyrood, Edinburgh
Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon during First Minster’s Questions at the Scottish Parliament in Holyrood, Edinburgh

“It also advised that the next phase could begin after the February half-term break, with the removal of face-coverings in classrooms – for both pupils and staff – on February 28.”

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The First Minister then detailed the reasoning behind the decision.

She added: “In arriving at their decision, the advisory subgroup pointed to reducing case rates for secondary-aged pupils, falling hospitalization rates across all age categories, and the fact that the estimated R rate is below 1 and decreasing.

“In addition, vaccination rates for young people continue to increase.

“This change represents a further step in allowing our children and young people to return to a more normal school experience after many months of sacrifice.

“We currently expect that face coverings will still be worn outside the classroom, in indoor communal areas of schools, after February 28.

“This will be kept under regular review. In addition, anyone who wants to continue wearing a face covering in classrooms will, of course, be supported to do so.”

Further guidance on reducing COVID risks in schools is expected to be updated next week.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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