Face masks become mandatory in secondary schools - and other new rules

22 February 2021, 17:47

Secondary school children will be advised to wear masks unless social distancing can be maintained
Secondary school children will be advised to wear masks unless social distancing can be maintained. Picture: PA
Rachael Kennedy

By Rachael Kennedy

Face masks will be required for secondary and higher education students when they return to face-to-face learning from 8 March, according to the Boris Johnson's lockdown plan.

This is just one of the restrictions that will still be in effect as England begins its first step of relaxing lockdown by reopening schools and other education facilities.

According to documents published by the Government, the face coverings will be required in corridors and classrooms if a 2 metre social distance cannot be maintained at all times.

So - what other things will there be to look out for from 8 March?

  • Rapid and regular testing of staff
  • Secondary school and college pupils will be tested twice a week, ie: one on-site test and one home test
  • Encouragement for all households with school children, along with their support and childcare bubbles, to get tested regularly
  • Students in Higher Education, Further Education and secondary schools will be advised to wear face masks in all indoor environments, including classrooms, unless 2m social distancing can be maintained
  • Staff and adult visitors in primary schools and early years will also be advised to wear masks

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Will everyone need to return to face-to-face education?

Not everyone will be required to return immediately, although this will be down to limited exceptions:

  • All school-age children will be required to return as they did in the autumn term
  • Higher Education students who do not need practical teaching or access to specialist facilities will remain at home for the time being - this also includes assessments
  • Research labs and libraries can be kept open if necessary