Face Coverings in Schools
From Monday 31 August, young people and staff within our secondary schools will be expected to wear face coverings between lessons.
All staff and school pupils using school transport will also be expected to wear face coverings.
We want all our staff and young people to feel safe within their school. The Scottish Government's updated guidance on the use of face coverings is a further step to ensure that everyone is doing what they can to limit the potential spread of the virus in their school community.
The introduction of face coverings should provide additional assurance to pupils, staff and parents.
Who has to wear a face covering?
All staff and pupils in our secondary schools should wear a face covering.
All young people over the age of 5 who use school transport to get to and from school will also be expected to wear a face covering. The face covering is required to be worn for the full journey.
What if young people cannot wear a face covering?
There are of course people for whom wearing a face covering is not appropriate - which is why there are already exemptions in place for individuals with breathing difficulties or certain disabilities when it comes to wearing a covering in places like supermarkets.
So, there will also be young people for whom it is not appropriate to wear a face covering in school and schools will of course discuss that with pupils and parents.
When do young people and staff have to wear a face covering?
- in secondary schools, by adults and all pupils moving around the school, such as in corridors and communal areas where physical distancing is difficult to maintain
- on dedicated school transport by all children aged five and over, bringing it into line with guidance for public transport
Do face coverings need to be worn in the classroom?
While staff and students can continue to wear face coverings if they wish to, 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 2m distance and are interacting face-to-face for a sustained period (about 15 minutes or more), face coverings should be worn.
Will young people and staff be expected to provide their own face covering?
Yes. Young people and staff will be expected to provide their own face covering to use during the school day. This is in line with the Scottish Government guidance. When introducing the guidance, the First Minister stated, "it is reasonable to assume that most children and young people will have access to their own face covering already as part of their daily lives." As such, young people and staff should bring their own face covering to wear in school.
What if a young person forgets or loses their face covering?
Your school will have a supply of disposable face masks that will be provided to a young person who forgets their face covering.
If I forget or lose my face covering, will I still be able to get the bus?
Yes you will still be able to travel. If a pupil loses or forgets their face covering, they will still be able to get the school bus. However, we are expecting all children and young people who are using school transport to wear a face covering as responsible members of their school community.
What if a young person's face covering becomes dirty or gets soiled during the day?
Your school will have a supply of disposable face masks that will be provided to any young person whose face covering becomes dirty or soiled during the school day.
What about pupils who go to other schools for classes?
Some of our senior secondary pupils travel to other secondary schools for classes. Whilst in another school building, they will be expected to wear a face covering in the corridors and whilst moving around the school. It is not necessary for the young person to wear the face covering during classes.
What about Learning Campuses that have nursery, primary and secondary pupils attending?
Only secondary pupils and staff in our learning campuses will be expected to wear face coverings
Why have these measures been introduced?
The Scottish Government are continually reviewing the guidance to ensure that all measures are being taken to keep all children, young people and staff safe in schools. In communal areas (such as corridors) and on school transport there is a greater potential for different groups to mix. There is more chance of voices being raised - resulting in the creation of aerosols. And of course, there is less scope for distancing and effective ventilation. As such, the Scottish Government believe that face coverings could provide an additional layer of protection, in mitigating these factors.
Will other hygiene measures continue?
Yes. The key COVID-secure personal hygiene measures that all children, young people and staff should follow are:
- frequent washing/sanitising of hands for 20 seconds and drying thoroughly, and always when entering/leaving the building, before/after eating and after using the toilet;
- encouraging children, young people and staff to avoid touching their faces including mouth, eyes and nose;
- regular cleaning of surfaces (including desks and keyboards); and
- using a tissue or elbow to cough or sneeze, and use bins that are emptied regularly for tissue waste.