An education union has called for the government to keep the issue of face masks in schools under review.

As new evidence emerges, guidance should be re-examined, the Association of School and College Leaders said.

ASCL general secretary Geoff Barton told the Daily Telegraph: “We would expect the government in Westminster to review its guidance on the use of face coverings in schools – which currently says they are not required – in light of the WHO guidance and the consultation taking place in Scotland.

Nicola Sturgeon
Face coveringscould be used in Scottish schools

“The evidence is clearly evolving on this issue and it is important that it is kept under review and that clear direction is provided to schools.”

His words come amid a continuing fight over whether it is safe for students and teachers to return to the classroom over the coming weeks.

More than 40,000 people have died after testing positive for the coronavirus and there are fears that reopening schools could spread the disease further.

The Scottish government is expected to confirm its decision on face masks in schools soon, after the World Health Organisation (WHO) said children aged 12 and over should wear them.

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First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said her education secretary, John Swinney, was consulting with teachers and councils on whether to recommend the use of masks in schools.

Pupils arrive at Kelso High School on the Scottish Borders
Williamson: No masks in schools

A Number 10 spokesman said there were “no plans” to review the guidance on face coverings in schools.

He added: “We are conscious of the fact that it would obstruct communication between teachers and pupils.”

England’s deputy chief medical officer, Jenny Harries, has said evidence on whether children over 12 should wear masks in schools was “not strong”.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said masks were not required as schools were taking measures to limit the spread of coronavirus.

The government is expected to respond to the WHO guidance during topical questions on Tuesday afternoon.

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