Teachers at three Sheffield schools to wear face masks when they reopen

Teachers at three schools in Sheffield, all of which are run by the same multi-academy trust, will wear face masks once they reopen.

By Alana Roberts
Tuesday, 25th August 2020, 2:03 pm

Steve Chalke, founder of Oasis Community Learning, said that staff at all 52 schools run by the trust – including Oasis Academy Watermead, Oasis Academy Fir Vale and Oasis Academy Don Valley - will wear face masks when they reopen their doors next month.

Speaking on the BBC News channel, he said that secondary school students will also be wearing masks in corridors and that they will be considered ‘part of the uniform’.

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Oasis Learning Trust said it is currently considering a range of safety measures, including face masks, and special arrangements for when older students are moving around communal areas. Pictured is Oasis Academy Don Valley.

The move, according to Mr Chalke, has been made because "we believe this makes our schools safer than they would otherwise be for everyone" including students, staff and their families.

Mr Chalke, who said it is about common sense and taking responsibility, added: “It’s our responsibility to make our schools as safe as we possibly can. There's no such thing as being Covid-safe, just Covid-safer.

“And – based on our values and our sense of morality - these are the moves that we have chosen and are choosing to make. We’re doing it in discussion, so our staff are still arriving back from holidays and we're talking all these things through with them.

"This isn’t some kind of mandate handed down from on high, it’s a communal discussion about being responsible.”

The move comes amid growing concerns from headteachers about the lack of clarity over the rules on whether teachers or pupils can wear face masks in schools in England – with many backing calls for a review on the current government guidance.

In Scotland, secondary school pupils over the age of 12 will wear face coverings in corridors, shared areas and on school buses.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said on Monday she was acting in response to new guidance from the World Health Organization.

Posting on Twitter this morning, Mr Chalke said: “Oasis has booked face visors & masks for all our school staff & masks (colour coded for year groups) for our secondary students for transition in corridors etc.

"We're also booking extra space (offices, church halls etc.) for a number of our schools. Think 'Hands, Face & Space.”

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