Face coverings in schools: Shadow Education Minister reacts

Suzy Davies MS – the Shadow Minister for Education – has responded to the announcement on pupils wearing face coverings in schools, saying:

"We said yesterday that policy in relation to face coverings must be led by scientific evidence alone. If the evidence proves that wearing a face mask will create a safer environment for students and staff alike – and crucially, enabling more students to get back into school, back into education, and back to learning – then we would consider supporting their introduction.

However, the announcement by the Health and Education Ministers is the worst of both worlds, putting the responsibility on the shoulders of schools and councils, while trying to absolve itself of responsibility for the decision.

Sadly, I am not really surprised; the Welsh Labour-led Government's inconsistency and mixed-messaging over wearing facemasks on school transport showed us what to expect over wearing face covering in schools.

Also, primary and special needs schools will need different guidance from secondary schools. Guidance would also give schools certainty that, where pupils need to be exempt from wearing them for a variety of reasons, then they have formal support to do that.

The government here in Wales should have shown leadership – which it has not – and it should have issued definitive guidance.

Many students and their parents are naturally going to be a little apprehensive by the return to school after so long, and into what will be a very different environment and need reassurance.

They have not been given it."