Tories back Children’s Commissioner call to scrap masks in classrooms
The Welsh Conservatives have backed a call by the Children’s Commissioner for masks to be scrapped in Wales’ high school classrooms.
The Children Commissioner, Prof Sally Holland, had said that the restrictions faced by children in schools were now “firmly out of sync” with the freedoms being granted to adults.
While adults can sit in a pub with friends from six households, without wearing a face covering, most secondary pupils were still required to wear face coverings all day, every day, she said.
She also called for an end to mass self-isolation requirements for young people in many schools when someone tested positive for Covid.
“Schools need to have the freedom to do what they do best; teaching and learning, support for learners and their well-being, and helping children and young people develop their wider life skills,” she said.
“I am aware that the Welsh Government has announced plans to bring in a fresh approach in September, which I welcome, but I have asked the Minister to provide the details of this before the summer break to provide reassurance and clarity for children, young people and school and college staff.”
Commenting on the call, Welsh Conservative Shadow Minister for Education, Laura Anne Jones MS said that masks were proving to be “a big barrier” to learning and well-being.
“The rules in place seem out of kilter with those in other areas of society and Labour ministers should listen to the Children’s Commissioner, and their own scientific advisors who say they’re doing more harm than good, and drop the requirement for masks in classrooms immediately,” she said.
She also agreed with an end to mass self-isolation requirements.
“At the moment, we’re seeing alarmingly high numbers of pupils being sent home right across Wales, which is causing chaos for parents, pupils, teachers and schools,” she said.
“After an awfully challenging period in learning for young people across the country, Labour ministers must urgently revise their isolation rules and provide guidance for teachers before the end of term so we can get children back into an enjoyable and productive school environment.”