Face coverings in classrooms to be removed.
High school pupils and staff will not be required to wear face coverings in classrooms from 28 February, after the schools mid-term break.
Teachers and pupils who wish to continue to wear a face covering in the classroom should be fully supported in doing so.
Face coverings will still be required in communal areas, subject to future review.
Specific mitigations relating to assemblies and transition visits for learners who will start primary or secondary in August 2022, will also be eased as of 28 February.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said:
“In recent weeks I have promised to keep Parliament and school communities updated on mitigations within schools - including the use of face coverings within classrooms.
“I have been clear that we do not want to keep these measures in place for any longer than is necessary, but that we must continue to be led by scientific and expert advice.
“On Tuesday our Advisory Subgroup on Education and Children’s Issues met to discuss a number of issues, including the use of face coverings.
“The group reiterated its previous position that the removal of mitigations in schools should follow a phased approach. It also advised that the next phase could begin after the February half-term break, with the removal of face-coverings in classrooms – for both pupils and staff - on 28 February.
“In arriving at their decision, the Advisory Sub-Group pointed to reducing case rates for secondary-aged pupils, falling hospitalisation rates across all age categories, and the fact that the estimated R rate is below 1 and decreasing. In addition, vaccination rates for young people continue to increase.
“This change represents a further step in allowing our children and young people to return to a more normal school experience after many months of sacrifice.
“We currently expect that face coverings will still be worn outside the classroom, in indoor communal areas of schools, after 28 February. This will be kept under regular review. In addition, anyone who wants to continue wearing a face covering in classrooms will, of course, be supported to do so.”
Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance on reducing the risks in schools will be updated next week.
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