As children return to school, their safety is crucial but I am concerned about the recent reports that face coverings will be a requirement for pupils. I was pleased that the Secretary of State confirmed the Government only supports use of face coverings in schools that are in local lockdown areas and not across country.
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"It has been six months since many of our young children have been in school, and for many of us parents that means witnessing our children losing not just their educational opportunities, but their social development, so I congratulate the Department, the ministerial team and all in the sector on getting our schools open. It is the most important thing. The Secretary of State is aware that I have concerns about the use of face masks, but if that means we get the schools open, then so be it. Can we please keep that evidence under review, because it would be ideal if young children had the message that their school is safe and there is no encumbrance on their education?"
"My hon. Friend speaks incredibly passionately about the importance of ensuring that youngsters are in the best position to be able to learn in the best and most comfortable environment. We do not believe it is necessary for youngsters or people at school to wear a face mask, except where we have made it mandatory in local lockdown areas. The chief medical officer and the deputy chief medical officer have been consistent in their approach—that this is not something needed in every school right across the country. Where people are not in local lockdown areas, there is no need to wear a face mask, but what is so important is to see all children welcomed back. That is what we will see over this next week, and I think the whole House joins me in thanking all the staff who have made that possible."