Face coverings in Barnsley schools – update

Schools in Barnsley have been sent a joint letter from our Director of Public Health, Julia Burrows and Executive Director, Children’s Services, Mel John Ross, following the national position on the use of face coverings in education settings changing in line with the move to Step 3 of the roadmap.

While the change confirmed that nationally, face coverings will no longer be recommended for pupils and students in classrooms or communal areas in all schools, or for staff in classrooms, Directors of Public Health are still able to give localised advice and guidance.

Julia supports headteachers in recommending that face coverings are still worn.

You can read her message to schools below:

“As Director of Public Health for the borough, I am confident that things are moving in the right direction in terms of reduced serious illness and that transmission of COVID-19 is stable for now.

“However I want to be as assured as possible that the borough is in a good position as we approach the summer holidays and that we continue to do all that we can to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission in educational settings. This means that for the remaining period of the school term I am supportive of Headteachers choosing to maintain that face coverings should still be used for pupils, students, and staff in classrooms or communal areas in all schools and FE providers.

“In all schools and FE providers face coverings should continue to be worn by staff and visitors in situations outside of the classrooms where social distancing is not possible.

“Pupils have become familiar with the use of face coverings and for a period of nine weeks until the end of term, it feels sensible to encourage their continued use if schools wish to do so.

“The Yorkshire and Humber region largely went into lockdown as the B.1.1.7 (Kent) variant became dominant. This means that across our communities this variant is now most common and is more transmissible. As the restrictions are slowly eased, we need to be as cautious as possible to ensure that community transmission remains low. The continued use of face coverings will support our approach in doing this.

“It is also important to recognise that some pupils and staff may be exempt from wearing face coverings.”

We will continue to do all we can to reduce transmission of COVID-19 across our borough by working closely with schools, businesses, and other settings, to help them operate in a safe and well-managed way

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