Coronavirus Scotland: Removal of masks in classrooms a ‘positive milestone’, Education Secretary says

Education Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville has welcomed the easing of coronavirus restrictions in Scotland’s secondary schools, with the ending of the need for face masks in classrooms hailed as a “positive milestone”.

High school students and teachers are no longer required to keep face coverings on within the classroom – though they do still need to wear them in communal areas such as corridors.

Ms Somerville said the removal of masks in classrooms “signals the possibility of a brighter future where schools can regain some normality”.

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However she stressed that those students and staff who choose to continue to wear face coverings would be supported to do so.

Mask rules in schools are eased from Monday Higher History S5/S6 Armadale Academy students/pupils wear masks in the classroom along with their teacher West Lothian has been placed into Tier 3 alon with the rest of the Central Belt COVID 19, CORONA VIRUS - From today teachers and S4-S6 pupils must wear face masks/face coverings in classrooms in the new tier 3 and tier 4 COVID 19 restrictions. Senior pupils and their teachers are being advised to wear face coverings in classrooms for schools in the new level 3 and 4 restriction areas. The Scottish government has released new guidance on school safety to take account of the five-level Covid alert system, which begins on Monday. Other guidance advises staff to wear face coverings in all schools, where social distancing is not possible. And parents should wear masks even at drop-off and pick-up.

The Education Secretary said: “The last two years have been really tough for our children and young people.

Teachers and support staff have also had to operate in a challenging environment, but all have worked incredibly hard to deliver a quality learning experience for pupils.”

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She continued: “The removal of the requirement to wear face coverings in classrooms is a positive milestone – it signals the possibility of a brighter future where schools can regain some normality.

“And of course, pupils and staff who continue to choose to wear face coverings in class will be supported in doing so.”

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Ms Somerville stated: “We must not forget that Covid-19 has not gone away – we all still need to be on our guard and exercise caution. Pupils and staff must still wear face coverings in communal areas and distancing rules still apply.

“The last thing I want is to have measures in place for a minute longer than is necessary, but as we have done throughout this pandemic, we will continue to be guided by scientific and expert advice.”

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The removal of masks in classrooms comes at the same time as the mandatory vaccine passport scheme, which had applied to nightclubs and some large events, is also being ended.

This had required people to show their vaccine status before being allowed to enter clubs, and events such as some concerts and football matches.

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Other restrictions are also due to be eased next month, with the legal requirement to wear face coverings in some settings to be ended then.