COVID-19 face coverings in schools guidance: FOI release

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.

Information requested

1. Which man/woman or men/women wrote this guidance? (It is not signed by anyone as far as I can tell.

2. Which man/woman or men/women within the SG proclaim(s) to have the authority to impose masks (etc) on other people's children against their wishes (ie, without their freely-given consent)? (Or is the guidance all voluntary?)

3. Provide the evidence of how that authority was lawfully established.

4. Provide the evidence of the granting of authority to council chief executives and/or heads of education, etc, to impose masks on other people's children against their wishes (ie, without their freely-given consent) and how this was lawfully established. (Or is the guidance all voluntary?)

5. Ditto teachers/headteachers. (Or is the guidance all voluntary?)


I can confirm that the Scottish Government holds information falling within the scope of your request.

  • The schools guidance was written by Scottish Government officials in the Learning Directorate.
  • From 18 April 2022 , all the legal restrictions relating to COVID-19 protective measures at a national level in Scotland were lifted. The legal requirement to wear a face covering in most indoor places and on public transport has been replaced with general safety guidance for people who are managing a workplace or organisation. Schools should apply the approach within that workplace guidance to the use of face coverings by staff and secondary pupils in indoor communal areas in schools. In practice this means that the wearing of face coverings is not mandatory. The schools guidance is non-statutory.
  • The guidance set out which measures local authorities and schools should retain with the implementation of this being led by local authorities in a way that capitalises on the good practice that was developed over the pandemic period. The evidence base for this guidance comprised expert advice from the Advisory Sub-Group on Education and Children’s Issues, the Chief Medical Officer’s Office and Public Health Scotland. It also benefited from stakeholder input via the COVID-19 Education Recovery Group including local government, the professional associations and others.
  • The Advisory sub-group recommended that we devolve more autonomy and flexibility of decision-making to local authorities, schools and other settings in implementing the guidance – recognising also the importance of reaching local decisions. It is a legal requirement that local authorities ensure that school risk assessments are conducted and regularly reviewed and updated (including at points when the guidance is updated). In implementing the guidance, it is imperative that schools and local authorities continue to take a balanced approach, and take every appropriate step to ensure the safety and wellbeing of children, young people and staff in schools.
  • Schools should operate in line with their own circumstances and risk assessments as they do in all areas of school life.

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Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
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