Covid: Calls for face masks to be dropped in Scotland’s schools

It comes as the requirement was dropped in England.

Covid: Calls for face masks to be dropped in Scotland’s schools iStock
Currently, all staff and learners in Scotland's secondaries must wear face coverings at all times.

Campaign groups are calling for an end to the need for children to wear face coverings in Scottish secondary schools.

Masks are no longer needed in English secondary schools after Boris Johnson announced the requirement would be dropped from Thursday.

Currently, all staff and learners in Scotland’s secondaries must wear face coverings at all times as well as on school transport.

Face coverings must also be worn by parents and other visitors to all school sites, whether entering the building or otherwise, including parents at drop-off and pick-up.

Ruth Harley, a teacher a co-organiser of campaign group Stand By Me Scotland, said it was great news for English children that they will no longer need to wear masks but that it feels as though Scottish kids have been forgotten about.

“You can now go clubbing without a mask, eat a meal in a restaurant without a mask, debate in the Scottish Parliament without a mask – yet our children as young as 11 are expected to wear them for six to seven hours a day in school. That just isn’t right.”

Jo Bisset, organiser of another campaign group Us For Them Scotland, said the difference between Scottish and English schools was unfair on children.

“This isn’t the first time restrictions have been more severe on young people here, and it’s not the first time rules have been tougher for kids than for adults.”

The Scottish Government on Thursday said its position on the guidance around mask wearing in schools has not changed.

On Wednesday, infections expert Dr Christine Tait-Burkard said that she expects face covering rules to be removed from schools by February and for the general public “relatively soon thereafter”.

However, on Thursday morning, SNP MP Dr Philippa Whitford told BBC Radio Scotland that Scots could still be asked to wear masks “at least until late spring”.