Head of Education and Children's Services Lesley Brown is writing to families of young people attending East Lothian's secondary schools regarding the use of face coverings in school from 31 August.
As you’ll be aware, the Scottish Government has announced that, from 31 August 2020, face coverings should be worn by young people attending secondary schools when they are moving around the school in corridors and confined communal areas (such as toilets, social areas, PE changing rooms) where physical distancing is particularly difficult to maintain.
This new advice comes from the World Health Organisation (WHO) and is based on evidence that transmission risks amongst teenagers are the same as amongst adults. These measures will ensure we are up-to-date with the latest advice about how to keep our schools open and safe. By following these new guidelines you and your child will be supporting our schools to ensure health and safety remains a key priority, and that all staff and pupils can be confident they are in a safe environment.
This means that, from Monday, you should provide your child with a face covering to wear at school in these circumstances. (details on what is an acceptable face covering can be found online along with guidance on how to fit one).
East Lothian Council staff will be instructed to follow the updated guidance, which is designed to keep everybody safe and wear face coverings when they are moving around the school in corridors and confined communal areas (such as toilets, social areas, PE changing rooms) where physical distancing is particularly difficult to maintain.
Anyone (whether child, young person or adult) can wear face coverings in classrooms, but this is not compulsory and should not generally be required. However, face coverings in the classroom must be worn by adults where they cannot keep a 2m distance and are interacting face-to-face with other adults and/or children and young people for 15 minutes or more.
There are exemptions to the wearing of face coverings, including young people who have a health condition or a disability which might affect their ability to wear a covering safely and hygienically. This includes hidden disabilities, for example, autism or a learning disability, or situations where the use of a face covering could potentially cause a crisis situation for the young person. Please contact your school’s Depute Headteacher (pupil support) who will be able to address any health-related queries and arrange individual arrangements. Further information on exemptions can be found here. Our primary and secondary schools will hold a stock of disposable face coverings if a family is unable to provide one of their own.
All schools will continue to reinforce the importance of maintaining high standards of cleaning, personal hand and respiratory hygiene and physical distancing where possible. We are grateful to all families for their support in keeping our schools safe.
Head of Education and Children's Services