Union calls for clarity over face masks in Northumberland schools

A teaching union has called for clarity around wearing face masks in Northumberland schools.

Wednesday, 31st March 2021, 7:28 am
The NASUWT wants more clarity on wearing masks in schools

The NASWUT said ‘much clearer language’ was needed on face coverings in schools to help guard against covid infections.

This comes after the closure of Ellington Primary and the partial closure of Malvin Academy and Morpeth Road Primary School due to Covid-19.

Steve Bird, negotiating secretary for NASWUT, said: "The Government guidance around the wearing of face covering in schools does not go far enough and if we are to keep our schools open, keep our pupils and staff safe, the Government needs to use much clearer language around the issue".

The Government provides non-statutory guidance on face coverings in schools.

This means that mask wearing in schools is "according to official guidance "not mandatory activity, and any legal exemptions that apply to the wearing of face coverings in shops and on public transport also apply to this advice."

Cnllr Scott Dickinson, deputy leader of the Northumberland labour group, said: "Teaching Unions are best placed to advise how best to protect teachers, support staff and students, I would urge the government to ensure that they listen and act on the demands of the Union representing it's members, to ensure Schools can safely stay open and support Britain get children's education back on track."

Cath McEvoy-Carr, Executive Director for Adult and Children's Services at Northumberland County Counci, said: "Schools in Northumberland have robust Covid-19 secure measures in place and reassess their risk assessments on a regular basis.

"The health and safety of staff and pupils within our schools remains a priority and the wearing of face coverings in and around secondary and high schools is just one of a suite of protective measures in place in line with government guidance.

"Cases within Northumberland schools are currently low and with rapid testing for staff, and those households with school aged children being able to regularly test at home as well, we hope teachers across the county feel reassured that we are supporting schools to ensure they are doing everything they can to prevent the spread of the virus in our schools."

The dramatic events we are all experiencing are having a major impact on many of our local valued advertisers and consequently the advertising that we receive. We are now more reliant than ever on you helping us to provide you with news by buying a copy of our newspaper. If you can, please do pick up a copy when you are at the shops. Thank you for your support.