British govt. confusing decision with face masks while schools reopening


Boris Johnson’s government has been widely criticized for making an 11th hour U-turn as wearing a mask is not mandatory. Around 300,000 students will be back at school soon and secondary schools can make their own decisions whether to ask pupils and staff to wear face coverings, says the Department for Education.

Figure: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson visits a Year 7 class at Castle Rock School in Coalville, Leicestershire. Courtesy: Jack Hill/The Times/PA

Though the Department for Education says it is still keeping its recommendation against using face coverings. And in the secondary school students in lockdown zones will be obligatory to wear face masks in communal spaces from next week.

Johnson told it would have been “nonsensical” as “you cannot teach with face coverings and you cannot expect people to learn with face coverings.”

On top of that, the British govt. was also blamed for providing ‘completely laughable’ backing to schools in England after schools say they would receive just 10 Covid-19 testing kits each before the start of term next week.

The testing kits were part of the government’s efforts to assure worried parents and school staff.

Mandatory mask-wearing applies to about 330,000 pupils at more than 300 secondary schools in Greater Manchester, parts of Lancashire, West Yorkshire and Leicester.

But other areas will see the ease of restrictions as the mandatory face mask rule would no longer apply.

Matt Hancock, The UK health secretary, will declare which areas can be removed from the restrictions after his weekly ‘gold command’ meeting with the Chief Medical Officer for England, Prof Chris Whitty, and the Joint Biosecurity Centre on Thursday. Decisions taken at this meeting are typically announced on Friday, which would leave only one working day before most schools reopen on Tuesday.

Nav Mishra, Labour MP for Stockport, said he was “cautious but not against” the restrictions being lifted but was worried that the Covid-19 infection rate would increase when schools return next week.

He added on face masks, “The level of ambiguity and lack of information – from central government – is just not acceptable.”