The UK government said on Tuesday that face coverings should continue to be worn in secondary schools and colleges in England when students return after the Easter break.
Face coverings should continue to be worn by adults and pupils inside secondary schools and colleges after Easter
— Department for Education (@educationgovuk) April 6, 2021
Secondary school pupils are also expected to continue to go through twice-weekly testing, which the government said is now “established and embedded in pupil’s routines.”
But the Department of Education said it expects that face coverings “will no longer be required to be worn in classrooms, or by students in other communal areas, at step 3 of the roadmap, which will be no earlier than May 17.”
Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said that the reopening of schools has been “an incredible success” and schools and students have done “a great job adapting to COVID-secure guidance and working hard to make sure it doesn’t impact learning.”
“We obviously all want to get back to facemask-free classrooms and we will do this in line with the latest scientific data while balancing the interests of students, teachers, and the wider community,” he said in a statement.
The government is expanding its mass testing programme from schools and workplaces to the whole population. From Apr. 9, everyone in England will be offered free COVID-19 testing twice a week.
The programme has been criticised by some medical experts. Allyson Pollock, professor of public health at Newcastle University, told The Epoch Times on Monday, “It’s a hugely expensive and incoherent policy and not a public health strategy.”
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Monday that all shops, gyms, hairdressers, and outdoor hospitality areas in England will be reopened from Apr. 12, as part of step 2 of the government’s roadmap out of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus lockdown.
In a newly published review of the roadmap, the government said it will also begin to trial COVID-status certification in certain settings, including large events.
The government said it believes that “COVID-status certification could have an important role to play both domestically and internationally” to “allow some freedoms to be restored more safely.”
The plan has met with resistance from lawmakers from across the political spectrum, who argue the measure would infringe upon civil liberties and deal a heavy blow to business.