There is “no evidence” that forcing children to wear masks in school reduces the risk of Covid.
The government’s recommendation that secondary school students wear masks in class be withdrawn, according to the chair of the education select committee.
Following widespread criticism of new government evidence purporting to back up its decision to require children over the age of 11 in England to wear masks, Robert Halfon, MP for chair of the Education Select Committee, spoke out.
According to the Department of Education study, the majority of children believe facemasks in the classroom make it more difficult to communicate and learn, despite the fact that there is “inconclusive” evidence of their benefit in stopping covid transmission.
“I strongly welcome the Secretary of State’s efforts to keep schools open,” Mr Halfon, the Harlow MP, said. “However, the study that has been used to justify mask wearing among secondary school children is inconclusive – in other words, it has not been shown to reduce Covid risk.”
“We must acknowledge that this is not a neutral intervention.”
According to a government-commissioned study, 94 percent of headteachers believe face-to-face coverings make communication more difficult, while 80% of children believe they are less able to communicate and 50% find learning difficult.
The National Children’s Deaf Society and the Children’s Commissioner both have serious reservations about this.
“Despite the fact that teachers are not required to wear masks throughout the day, children with hearing impairments are unable to communicate with one another.”
“Study after study shows that the impact of covid measures on children’s well-being and mental health is extremely severe,” he continued.
Referrals for mental health services have increased by 60% in the last year.
“We know that while children are at low risk from Covid, masks pose a greater risk to their education, mental health, and learning and development.”
According to the report, 71 percent of members of the Unison trade union, which represents support staff, believe that face coverings in secondary school lessons are an important safety measure.
“This appears to be a retrofit of evidence to suit a rushed out policy,” said Professor Carl Heneghan, director of Oxford University’s Centre of Evidence Based Medicine.
This study is clearly unsuitable for its intended purpose and should not be used to support policy.
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