MP for Littlehampton and Bognor says face coverings in schools not mandatory

Photo credit: PA Wire/PA Images

Face coverings and asymptomatic Covid-19 tests in secondary schools will not be compulsory when pupils in England return to class next month, the schools minister has confirmed.

Nick Gibb, the MP for Littlehampton and Bognor Regis, as well as the schools minister acknowledged that it is “more challenging” to teach with face masks, but he said wearing face coverings is “highly recommended”.

He appealed to parents to allow their secondary school-age children to take part in regular voluntary rapid coronavirus tests when classrooms reopen from March 8.

He said “Of course we can’t make it mandatory on parents but we just hope that most parents will see the wisdom of testing their children twice a week.”

Over the first two weeks of term, secondary school and college pupils will be asked to take three Covid-19 tests on site and one at home. They will then be sent home-testing kits to do twice-weekly.

He said he hopes that the vast majority of students will volunteer to use the lateral flow tests.

Primary school children will not need to take a rapid coronavirus test when they return to class.

On face coverings, Mr Gibb said: “It is more challenging to teach where you have masks on the children and on the teachers, but we have a new variant of this virus which is far more transmissible than the previous variant.”

When asked if pupils have to wear face masks, he said:: “We are saying it is not mandatory for schools to have masks in classrooms but it is highly recommended because we want to do everything we can to reduce the risk of transmission in the school.”

His comments come after the National Deaf Children’s Society warned that the Government’s recommendation for face coverings to be worn could have a “devastating” effect on youngsters with hearing difficulties.

The Department for Education has said teachers should continue to be sensitive to the additional needs of their students, such as deafness, in deciding whether it is appropriate to wear a face covering.

More from Sussex and Hampshire News

On Air Now Ian Crouch 3:00pm - 7:00pm
Now Playing
Outside Of Love Becky Hill
Recently Played
  • There's Nothing Like This Omar 17:11
  • I Like The Way Bodyrockers 17:07
  • I Kissed A Girl Katy Perry 17:04