Zahawi: Teachers and headteachers will enforce face mask rules in schools

3 January 2022, 09:45 | Updated: 3 January 2022, 09:51

By Seán Hickey

The government trusts teachers and headteachers 'to make the right decision' in enforcing face mask rules in schools, the Education Secretary tells LBC.

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"If a secondary school pupil refuses to wear a face covering or a mask...who's going to enforce that regulation?" Andrew Castle asked Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi.

The question came as the government set out plans to reintroduce mandatory face coverings for year 7 and above in a bid to mitigate the spread of the Omicron variant of Covid-19.

Read more: Pupils to be tested on-site for Covid as they're asked to wear face masks in class

"Teachers and headteachers are best placed to talk to the student and work with the student", the Education Secretary confirmed.

"It's schoolteachers and headteachers who will be pragmatic, who'll be proportionate and they have to make those decisions – we absolutely trust them to make the right decision."

Read more: Rachel Johnson hits out at classroom mask advice for pupils

Read more: Classroom mask advice 'devastating for children', says parent group leader

Mr Zahawi said that the measures being put in place were an effort to keep schools open despite the spread of coronavirus.

"Is there a possibility that schools will be closed once again?" Andrew wondered.

"I will do everything in my power to make sure schools remain open", insisted Mr Zahawi.

"There's nothing in the data that makes me feel we need to go further at the moment" he concluded, echoing the claims of some Tory MPs last week.