Dumfries and Galloway teachers' union official calls for caution on move to remove masks in classes

By Kenny Macdonald

Teachers’ union official Andy O’Halloran has urged for caution on a move to remove masks in school classes.

The Scottish Government is expected to announce this week that face coverings for senior pupils will no longer be needed in lessons.

New guidance is based on advice from the Scotland scientific advisory sub group on education and children’s issues which met last week and is due to come into force after the October holiday.

However, Mr O’Halloran, EIS association secretary for Dumfries and Galloway, said: “We would urge caution on the lifting of any of the Covid-19 mitigations currently in place.

“Our priority is continuity of learning and teaching and keeping everyone as safe as they possibly can be.”

He added that the “last thing” anyone wants is to see someone fall ill and miss time off school.

Mr O’Halloran, who wears a mask while teaching, reckons the new measure could be introduced once every school in Scotland has completed its October break.

Masks will still be required when kids are walking in school corridors to combat Covid-19, but senior pupils will no longer have to wear them during lessons.

The move brings Scotland into line with England where face masks have not been recommended for schools since May.

A huge spike in Covid cases arose when schools returned after the summer break, with more than half of all schools reporting at least one positive case in the first couple of weeks of term.

But the vaccination programme for all 12 to 15 year olds, after a recommendation by the UK’s four chief medical officers, has reduced concerns.

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