Teachers call for clarity on whether masks should be made mandatory in secondary schools

Kieran Christie, General Secretary of the ASTI, says the advice about masks has changed over the last few weeks and teachers want clarity on the issue
Teachers call for clarity on whether masks should be made mandatory in secondary schools

Masks are already compulsory on all public transport and the rules will include shops and shopping centres from next Monday.

Teachers want guidance on whether or not face masks should be made mandatory in secondary schools.

Masks are already compulsory on all public transport and the rules will include shops and shopping centres from next Monday.

Kieran Christie, General Secretary of the ASTI, says the advice about masks has changed over the last few weeks and teachers want clarity on the issue.

“There’s been significant changes in public policy the whole area of mask wearing in the months of May and early June," he said.

“Even the HSE and other bodies were very reluctant to introduce masks.

“Now public policy has changed dramatically.

“What we’ve asked is the Minister to go and ask the medical professionals to review the matter before the opening of schools so the matter is cleared up once and for all.” 

Yesterday, the former Director-General of the HSE said secondary students should have to wear masks in the classroom.

Tony O'Brien said it makes sense to ask students to wear masks when they return to school.

“They’re going to need to wear masks to travel to school on public transport,” he said.

“And then when they are in situations that are likely to be equally crowded, they’ll not be required to wear them.

“Many of those students are going to the coming from families who have vulnerable other members of their families at home.

“Some of the teachers will have vulnerabilities, other students will have vulnerabilities.

“I think it’s just a matter until we’re going to see a requirement for masks and it would be better just to get on with it and make that clear at this stage.” 

Also speaking yesterday, Health Minister Stephen Donnelly says NPHET is awaiting a report from the European Centre for Disease Control on the issue.

“There is emerging evidence that younger children are far less contagious and far less susceptible than older children.

“So NPHET is waiting to see what the ECDC says.

“They may come back and they may recommend in secondary schools for example or over a particular age that face masks should be worn."

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