Lecturers really feel more secure when pupils put on face mask, says head of first London faculty to make face-coverings obligatory

The head of the first London school to make face-coverings compulsory said teachers feel safer when pupils wear masks,   and urged the Government to keep schools open. 

David Goodhew, head of Latymer Upper School in Hammersmith, said a survey of staff at his school found they feel reassured by pupils having to wear masks in the classroom. 

The Government is reportedly set to issue new guidance on face masks, requiring all secondary pupils and staff to wear them when moving around indoors. 

Currently the wearing of masks is  at the discretion of heads unless their schools are in areas of high infection. Since August, pupils at £21,000-a-year Latymer have had to wear masks in lessons and in communal areas. Mr Goodhew said:  

“Pupils and staff in the classroom are still wearing masks and that has worked well for us. I wouldn’t be surprised if more schools followed suit.” 

He added: “Our experience is that there are solutions to the two main objections, namely pupil discomfort and problems with communication.” 

Mr Goodhew said he does not believe that schools are “engines of transmission” of Covid-19, but added: “I think people who work in schools are absolute heroes. Everyone else is being told stay at home if you can, but teachers are going in.” 

He said it was vital for the mental and physical health of children that schools stay open, and warned that many have “whole year groups or large numbers of staff who are off having to isolate as a precaution and waiting a long time to get test results back”.

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