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Covid-19: Don't abandon mask wearing in schools, say health experts


Covid rules in England requiring secondary school pupils to wear face coverings in classrooms could be dropped from mid-May, despite warnings from health experts and teaching unions. Education secretary Gavin Williamson last week said that the requirement would be relaxed no sooner than 17 May, as part of the third stage of the “roadmap” out of lockdown. This is expected to be confirmed on 10 May by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, alongside easing of other controls. But leading scientists have warned that guidance on masks should remain in place for longer and called for more transparency surrounding infections data. They cited signs of an increase of infections in schools that are forcing some to close and the spread of troubling new virus variants linked to schools. Deepti Gurdasani, a clinical epidemiologist and senior lecturer in machine learning at Queen Mary University of London, said on 7 May, “B.1.617.2 [the variant first identified in India] has been spreading in secondary schools, yet the government has decided to remove masks from secondaries. If the government is following the data they should be happy to make this public.”

The BMJ - May 10, 2021

View the full story here: https://www.bmj.com/content/373/bmj.n1186