Council issues face mask guidance for pupils

Scottish Borders Council has issued face mask guidance for all high school pupils.

Wednesday, 26th August 2020, 5:29 pm
Christine Grahame SNP MSP

From Monday, face masks will be mandatory for secondary school pupils when moving around the school and when in communal areas.

Masks will also be mandatory for school children aged five or older when using dedicated school transport.

A letter, sent to the parents of school children by Scottish Borders Council, reads: “Face coverings will not generally be necessary in the classroom as there is greater scope for physical distancing and face coverings can have an impact on learning and teaching.

“However, it remains the case that where adults cannot keep two-metre distance and are interacting face-to-face for a sustained period (about 15 minutes or more) face coverings should be worn.

“In addition, staff and students can continue to wear face coverings in any classroom if they wish to.

“Scottish Borders Council has carefully planned the return of pupils to our schools using all guidance provided by the Scottish Government.

“This latest update from the Government is based on the latest scientific and public health advice and we will be putting it in place across our schools.

“Please ensure your child wears a face covering while moving around the school campus, if they attend a secondary school, and at all times on school transport (if aged five and over) if they travel to and from school on a bus, coach or taxi.”

Parents have also been asked to make sure masks cover the nose, mouth and chin, and to wash reusable face masks everyday in 60 degree centigrade or boiling water.

The council has not provided any guidance on the styles of masks which will be permitted, indicating there are no uniform restrictions, but individual schools may wish to set their own style guidelines.

Christine Grahame, MSP for Midlothian South, Tweeddale and Lauderdale, appealed for children to adhere to the new guidelines:

She said: “The Scottish Government has been continually reviewing guidance since schools went back to ensure it worked in practice.

“Even with the best intentions some students have found it very difficult to physically distance when moving around school, which could increase the risk of transmission of the virus.

“And on school transport, as on public transport, there can be mixing between different age groups.

“Following updated scientific and public health advice and the experience of schools reopening, it has therefore become clear that face coverings are a necessary precaution for students when they move about the school and indeed on school transport.

“Schools will of course be engaging with pupils on this, but I’d ask young people to co-operate in making sure this guidance is adhered to and parents to ensure their children understand the importance of this.

“I appreciate that face coverings are not always completely comfortable to wear, but by taking these precautions students can ensure they minimise the risk of them carrying this virus to someone who could become very seriously ill with it.”