When pupils return back to school next month, face coverings and asymptomatic Covid tests will now not be compulsory in secondary schools.
The Schools Minister Nick Gibb admitted that it is more challenging to teach with face masks, but it is “highly recommended” that face coverings are worn.
Gibb has appealed to parents that when they restart school on 8 March, that secondary school children take part in voluntary rapid Covid tests.
Speaking to Times Radio Gibb said, “Of course we can’t make it mandatory on parents but we just hope that most parents will see the wisdom of testing their children twice a week.”
College and secondary pupils will be asked to take three Covid tests on site and one at home, over the first two weeks of term, after which home testing kits twice weekly.
Speaking with LBC Radio Gibb was asked, should it be “no test, no school,” he replied, “No, we want to make sure it is not compulsory in that sense, and they will need the permission of the parents.
“In all these things, it is a balance of risk and just having anybody tested, frankly, and identifying asymptomatic cases is a bonus in terms of minimising the risk.”
Gibb said on face coverings, “It is more challenging to teach where you have masks on the children and on the teachers, but we have a new variant of this virus which is far more transmissible than the previous variant.”