Wolverhampton secondary school pupils and staff urged to keep wearing face masks

Health chiefs in Wolverhampton are encouraging secondary-aged pupils and staff to continue wearing face coverings in school in a bid to help stop the spread of Covid-19.

Face coverings have been needed in communal areas in secondary schools for a number of months.

But in the move to step 3 of the Government's roadmap out of lockdown, which came into force on Monday, the requirement to wear masks has been removed.

However, in light of the emergence of new variants of Covid-19 which could be more transmissable, Wolverhampton Council has recommended that face coverings continue to be worn at this time.

Brenda Wile, deputy director for education, said: "We are recommending that all secondary schools and Wolverhampton College continue to promote the wearing of face coverings until at least half-term, in two weeks' time.

"Although the picture is much improved, with infection rates considerably lower than those we were seeing earlier in the year, we cannot afford to let the virus gain the upper hand once more.

“This is a precautionary measure to enable us to see how things evolve with the easing of restrictions and understand more about the new variant of concern which has emerged in recent days.

"We fully appreciate that our stance differs from national guidance, but it is only for a short period of time and is in line with what many parents have asked of their schools.

"We will review our stance during half-term but our priority remains to keep our schools as safe as possible for both children and staff, and reduce any disruption to teaching caused by people needing to isolate."

She added: "In the meantime, I would also ask that parents and carers continue to wear face coverings and practice social distancing when they are on the school run, and for family members to get a free rapid Covid-19 test twice a week so that they can be reassured that they don't have the virus.

"Everyone should also get their life-saving Covid-19 vaccination as soon as they are able to, to protect themselves and others.”

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