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Face Covering Exemptions - Schools

Face coverings play a role in preventing the transmission of COVID-19, however, there are reasons you may require a face covering exemption.

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If you believe your child is exempt from wearing a face covering, please complete the form at the bottom of this page.

Below is a list of some reasons a person might be exempt:

Disability and health conditions:

  • you have a health condition where a face covering would be inappropriate because it would cause difficulty, pain or severe distress or anxiety or because you cannot apply a face covering and wear it in the proper manner safely and consistently
  • a person who is providing care or assistance to a vulnerable person and where wearing a face covering would make this more difficult. This also applies if someone needs emergency assistance and they don't have a face covering with them or there is not time to put one on
  • you can temporarily remove a face covering if you need to take medication, eat or drink

Respiratory conditions:

  • most people with a lung condition will be fine wearing a face covering
  • however, a few people with a lung condition will find that face coverings increase their sensation of breathlessness to the extent they can't tolerate wearing one
  • for more information on face covering advice for those suffering with lung and respiratory conditions, visit the British Lung Foundation's website.


  • there are various reasons why an autistic person might find face coverings difficult, such as:
    • The feeling it has on their skin
    • A sudden change to their normal routine
    • Not being able to see parts of their or other people's faces
  • if wearing a face covering causes you or someone you are supporting severe distress or anxiety, then you do not have to wear one
  • if you are autistic and want tips on how to cope with wearing a face covering, read the National Autistic Society Scotland's factsheet 

Mental health:

  • you might feel trapped or claustrophobic, panicked or anxious and be exempt from wearing a face covering for these reasons
  • you might feel severely distressed or anxious if wearing a face covering triggers acute symptoms of a mental health condition, like:
    • panic attacks, flashbacks or other severe anxiety symptoms
    • paranoia or hearing voices
    • dissociating, or switching alters (something that happens to people with dissociative identity disorder)
    • thoughts of self-harm or suicide

What doesn't count:

  • Mild discomfort
  • Not wanting to wear one

Temporary removal of a face covering:

Some people will struggle to hear or understand people wearing a face covering because they can't see their mouth or facial expression, such as, people who rely on lip reading or British Sign Language speakers. Others will be unable to wear a face covering or to do so safely due to a disability or a medical condition.

You can help by being patient and by:

  • being aware that if someone is deaf they cannot hear you and may not know you are talking to them so -
    • making sure you have their attention by waving, and using gestures and pointing
    • trying to reduce any background noise (where possible)
    • speaking slowly, asking if the person can hear you, and using signs and body language to emphasise what you are saying
    • taking off your own face covering where necessary if you are communicating with someone who needs to see your face or has difficulty understanding you. (Please remember to stay at least 2 metres apart when removing your face covering and replace your face covering once you've finished speaking)

Ensuring Good Behaviour

To ensure that good behaviour continues throughout our school communities in relation to wearing face coverings, pupils who do not wear their face covering may be asked why it is not being worn. Where appropriate, the school's Behaviour Policy will apply.