MASKS in school classrooms and a testing regime will not be mandatory, a minister said today – but they are “highly recommended”.
Nick Gibb said the government would stop short of forcing secondary pupils by law to wear face coverings from March 8, when they start being required in classrooms not just corridors.
He also said a new twice-a-week testing regime, in which secondary pupils will take their first three rapid tests at school before administering them at home, will not be forced either.
The testing and face covering requirements do not apply to primary school pupils.
The Schools Minister told BBC Breakfast: “We are saying it is not mandatory for schools to have masks in classrooms.
“But it is highly recommended because we want to do everything we can to reduce the risk of transmission in the school.”
The new measures are designed to cut Covid transmission when secondary pupils return from March 8 onwards in England.
Heads have warned it will take a week or more to give all secondary pupils a test before they can return to the classroom.