The decision to remove the requirement in secondary schools and colleges came as Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that more indoor mixing will be allowed to take place from May 17.
MPs and parents have raised concerns about face coverings in class disrupting pupils’ learning and wellbeing since they were introduced in March.
From May 17, face coverings for pupils will no longer be recommended in classrooms, or in communal areas, in secondary schools and colleges in England amid declining infection rates.
Last month, Schools Minister Nick Gibb said he hoped that pupils would no longer have to wear face masks in class in secondary schools from mid-May.
But last week, five unions representing teachers and support staff – as well as scientists and parents – wrote to Education Secretary Gavin Williamson urging him to keep masks in place until at least June 21.
Jon Richards, head of education at Unison, told the PA news agency that it would be “unwise” to remove masks from classrooms at a time when Covid-19 infections remain in schools and not everyone has received a vaccine.
Meanwhile, school leaders unions’ called on ministers to set out the evidence behind any relaxation of rules to address concerns about infection risk.
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