The requirement to wear face masks in schools should be removed ahead of the new term, ministers have been told.
In England, the mandatory wearing of face coverings in schools was lifted on May 17, but a date for the lifting of the measure has not been set in Scotland.
At a meeting of the Scottish Government’s Covid-19 Advisory Group in June, the issue was raised, with a “general agreement” that they should be removed in classrooms “when possible”.
In minutes from the meeting published this week, it read: “The sub-group agreed that ventilation and hand hygiene should remain, given their impact and that they are easy to maintain.
“It was suggested that physical distancing could also remain between adults and pupils in schools.
“There was general agreement that face coverings should be removed in classrooms when possible, perhaps once all school staff have received their second dose of the vaccine, but that face coverings should remain in use in communal areas”.
The Scottish Conservatives have said that schools in Scotland must be at the “front of the queue” for the relaxation of restrictions.
The party’s education spokesperson Oliver Mundell said: “Young people have already faced a year of upheaval and disrupted education. They deserve a return to normality as soon as possible.
“The success of Scotland and the UK’s vaccine scheme means that face masks in schools are no longer a necessity, as the government’s advisers have suggested.
“Scotland’s schools must be at the front of the queue for the relaxation of restrictions. Protecting young people’s education should be a top priority for the SNP Government.”
He continued: “We firmly believe the public health data now supports a return to normality in schools by removing the requirement for face masks and ending the need for children to self-isolate for 10 days.
“Parents, pupils and teachers are waiting for answers on what rules will be in place. We should put restoring Scotland’s schools first and give children back a normal learning experience again.”
A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “Our education advisory group will advise ministers on whether, or to what extent, mitigations can be removed.
“This includes the wearing of face coverings and the self-isolation requirement for young people in education settings who are close contacts of positive cases.
“As part of our wider preparations for the new academic term, we will set out our plans and guidance for schools in advance of the new term.”
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