The guidance on face masks in Sheffield schools after the city was placed in Tier 2 lockdown

Secondary school students in Sheffield have been reminded of the need for face masks, after the city entered Tier 2 lockdown.

By Robert Cumber
Thursday, 15th October 2020, 2:26 pm

The Government says that face coverings are not considered necessary in schools because of the ‘system of controls’ in place, but individual schools and colleges can require them to be worn in indoor communal areas where social distancing is not possible.

In Sheffield, secondary schools, colleges and universities were advised in August, before the new academic year began, that face coverings should be worn in communal areas and corridors but were not needed in the classroom.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Face masks are recommended in communal areas of Sheffield secondary schools (pic: David Jones/PA)

Children in primary schools do not need to wear face coverings, according to national guidance.

The fact Sheffield is now in Tier 2 lockdown due to the high rate of coronavirus transmission does not automatically change the guidance on wearing face masks within the city’s schools.

But the Government states that local authority leaders and directors of public health, alongside national government, can decide to step up restrictions at schools in response to rising infection rates.

Sheffield Council this week said the advice from its director of public health, Greg Fell, had not changed but it reminded students, parents and teachers of his recommendations.

Writing to schools back in August, when the local infection rate was much lower, the council said: “The Sheffield Director of Public Health advises all secondary schools, FE colleges and Universities that face coverings should be worn in communal areas and on corridors. It will not be necessary to wear face coverings in the classroom. Face coverings do not need to be worn in primary school settings.”

Sheffield Council reiterated its position after Dinnington High School, just over the border from Sheffield, said it was changing its approach due to Rotherham, along with the rest of South Yorkshire, being placed into Tier 2 lockdown.

Dinnington High School now advises all pupils to wear face coverings when entering and leaving the premises, walking between lessons and queuing for lunch. It says children can choose to wear them in lessons, too, though this is not required.

Sheffield is widely expected to be placed into Tier 3 lockdown at some point but schools and universities would remain open if this happens, and there would be no automatic change to the guidance on face masks in schools.