The government realises the importance of returning to schools and colleges, both for the maintenance of academic progress and the wellbeing of students.
This is a big positive move towards normality, but will have to be approached in adherence to the guidelines set out.
We are assured that they will be amended going forward as soon as they feel it is safe to do so.
These temporary measures are due to be reviewed at Easter, which is less than three weeks away.
For now, all students over the age of twelve (year seven and above) will have to comply with the regulations (unless they have a medical reason that exempts them).
That means that face coverings must be worn at all times when it is not possible to ensure social distancing can operate. So in the classroom and around the corridors and communal areas, buses etc they will have to be worn, this includes adults and children.
Children in primary education do not have to wear face coverings, but the adults looking after them do.
This is intended to protect others, not the wearer, as the face and mouth are the main confirmed sources of transmission.
A face covering must safely cover the nose and mouth and fit securely around the side of the face.
Face visors and shields are not allowed as a substitute as they don’t prevent aerosol transmission.
It is important to have clean hands when putting on or removing your mask. Avoid touching the front of face coverings during use or when removing.
Make sure you carry at least one spare mask in a sealable plastic bag, so that you can replace carefully to a clean, dry mask if yours becomes damp.
Do not mix the clean ones with the used ones.
If you use disposable masks, these must be disposed of in the black bin waste and not the recycle bin. This means that you are not helping the environment by reducing landfill waste.
An eco-friendly option is to use reusable masks. These can be stored in a clean polybag and when they have been worn can be washed ready for further use at a future time. Available from Mask4Life – we have some great deals to offer.
Store used masks separately from clean masks, and avoid touching them. After changing your mask be sure to wash or sanitise your hands.
Whilst it won’t be easy to get used to wearing masks in school, it will be so good to see and interact with your peers, and catch up after these long months without socialising with them.
So if we endure the restrictions and do our bit, we can focus on the positive step this is towards getting back to the ‘new normal’ and enjoy seeing one another in person instead of over zoom!