Covid restrictions Sheffield: Public health boss Greg Fell still wants to see face masks in schools

Sheffield’s director of public health wants schools across the city to continue using face masks – despite plans to end Covid restrictions.

Tuesday, 22nd February 2022, 4:26 pm
Updated Tuesday, 22nd February 2022, 4:26 pm

In a message sent to headteachers, and forwarded to parents, updating them on his position on face coverings, Greg Fell explained why he still wants to see face coverings worn, despite the Government yesterday revealing its plans for ending Covid measures including weekly tests for pupils.

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Mr Fell said: “The numbers of positive Covid cases in the school-age population are now starting to stabilise but at a high rate.

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Bob Johnson and Abtisam Mohamed from Sheffield City Council with Head Teacher Andy Kelly in the sports hall at Yewlands School, before it reopened after lockdown. Sheffield's director of public health Greg Fell says he still supports wearing facemasks in schools. Picture: Chris Etchells

"Education settings are continuing to experience high rates of absence across both staff and pupils which is impacting on face-to-face teaching and learning. This is as much an issue of business continuity as it is public health.

"Through the pandemic school leaders and head teachers have become extremely adept at managing Covid and the impact it has in the setting. In this context where settings are experiencing increasing positive Covid cases and or significant business continuity issues I support settings to use non-pharmaceutical interventions/measures to help reduce transmission and risk.

“Whilst I do not have the authority to mandate the use of face coverings, I think there is still a place for them as part of a settings outbreak management control plans and would support their use when outbreak control plans are implemented as a result of increasing cases in a class, group or setting.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson revealed plans for ‘living with Covid’ on Monday, including the end of compulsory twice-weekly Covid tests for pupils.