Prime Minister Johnson is facing a major Conservative backlash over face masks in the classroom as 32 MPs demand that the measure is dropped after Easter.
The PM has been told in a letter from 32 MPs’ that it is “just not good enough” to impose the measure on millions of secondary pupils given the evidence that face masks help prevent the spread of the virus is this environment is “pretty thin”.
The pressure is mounting on HM’s Government as it faces criticism over its latest guidance on masks, which says they should be worn by secondary pupils in lessons as well as anywhere indoors at school where students are not able to socially distance.
This guidance goes much further than during the autumn term when the guidance from the Department for Education (DfE) said face masks should be worn in corridors and communal areas in parts of the country under Tier 2 or Tier 3 restrictions. However, it was left to the discretion of headteachers in other areas.
Prime Minister Johnson said the new measure would be in place at least for the rest of this term to offer “even greater reassurance” that face-to-face teaching is safe.
However, signatories of the letter against facemask in classrooms include Sir Graham Brady, chairman of the influential 1922 committee of Conservative backbenchers, Steve Baker, deputy chairman of the Covid Recovery Group, Huw Merriman, Philip Davies and Greg Smith and many more.
— Adam Brooks (@EssexPR) March 5, 2021
Sir Graham said that the welfare of children must remain at the “forefront of our minds” through the pandemic.
HE told the Telegraph: “Requiring children to wear masks in the classroom will damage their education and inhibit their communication with teachers and with their peers,
“The psychological damage being done to young people who need to see each others’ faces to communicate with each other is immense.”
Mr Davies, MP for Shipley, said the evidence that face masks reduced transmission in schools was “pretty thin to be perfectly honest”.
“In order for the state in effect to insist on things, there has to be an overwhelming case to do so and by the Government’s own admission, no such overwhelming case exists, in fact no case at all.
“It is basically being done on the basis of a precautionary principle – even if there is no evidence we will do it just in case. I am afraid to say that is just not good enough.”
Officials at the DfE say that while masks are strongly encouraged, it is not a legal requirement and pupils should not be “denied education” as a result of non-compliance.
A government spokesperson said the guidance would be reviewed by Easter, adding that it would “follow the best available scientific and public health advice at the time”.
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This content was sourced from Unity News Network.