CHILDREN across England will start to return to schools as the new year begins in September.
But what safety measures will be put in place for children when they return, and will they have to wear face masks?
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School pupils at secondary schools in England will have to wear masks in school corridors in local lockdown areas of England, after the government made a U-turn on its guidance.
Head teachers in any secondary school will also have the power to introduce masks in their schools.
Education Secretary Gavin Williamson says this follows updated advice from the World Health Organisation.
Mr Williamson said: “At each stage we have listened to the latest medical and scientific advice.”
The U-turn came just 24 hours after No10 ruled out making them compulsory for pupils.
The Department for Education said for most areas of England it is keeping its guidance against using face coverings – but schools will be able to make their own decision whether to ask pupils and staff to wear them.
Pupils will have to wear masks in communal areas of schools such as hallways — but not classrooms.
Furious Tories branded Education Secretary Mr Williamson’s department the “department of mess-ups”.
The announcement is the fourth humiliating U-turn by the department in two months.
No, teachers will not be obliged to wear face masks and PPE.
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman has revealed that teachers will not have to wear face coverings, unless providing care for a child who has come into school with symptoms.
He said: “Our guidance on face coverings is clear, they are for enclosed public spaces where you come into contact with people you don’t normally meet such as crowded shops or public transport.
“It is rare for a teacher to have to wear PPE, they should only be worn if providing close-contact care for a child with symptoms.”
Jon Richards of Unison, representing support staff in schools, said masks were worn in other workplaces and it was “vital” that school staff should be allowed to wear them.
Medical advisers also highlighted the risk of teachers spreading the virus to each other – rather than from pupil to pupil.
Schools will provide hand sanitiser for staff and children to use when they reopen.
Schools will have to ensure that sufficient hand-washing facilities are available, where a sink is not nearby, provide hand sanitiser in classrooms and other learning environments.
Both teachers and pupils will have to frequently wash their hands with soap and water for 20 seconds and dry them thoroughly.
Schools in Northern Ireland, that reopened on August 24, have banned parents from coming past the gates.
Public Health England has said that taking the temperature of pupils is an unreliable method for identifying coronavirus.
Wearing face coverings in corridors and communal areas of secondary schools is set to be introduced in Scotland.
Kids would have to wear face masks while moving between classrooms.
Nicola Sturgeon said she was acting in response to guidance from the World Health Organisation.
Young people returned to Scotland’s schools from August 11 with no requirements for physical distancing between younger pupils, and no rules around face coverings.
There are many places to buy face masks for children as coverings are set to become the new normal in our everyday lives.
You can buy masks for children via online outlets or from independent brands aiming to cash in on the rise in demand for face-masks.
Some major companies such as Disney have created masks specifically for children, inspired by iconic films such as The Little Mermaid, Toy Story and The Aristocats.