Use of face coverings to continue in post-primary schools as ‘prevalence of COVID remains high’
In the latest review of guidance issued to schools in Northern Ireland, the Department of Health has advised that the use of face coverings in post-primary schools here should continue.
The current DE Coronavirus Guidance for Schools and Educational Settings in Northern Ireland states:
“It is strongly recommended that post-primary pupils wear a face covering at all times when inside school buildings, including classrooms, corridors and confined communal spaces such as toilet areas.
“The Executive agreed on 12 August the requirement for post-primary pupils to wear a face covering in classrooms would, subject to review, apply until 8 October. However, for subjects where social distancing is possible, such as drama in a large hall, face coverings are no longer required.”
Following the review, the Department of Education has issued the following guidance to schools:
“In reviewing this approach, advice was received from the Department of Health that as prevalence of COVID remains high, it is appropriate that the current guidance on the use of face coverings in schools remains in place. In line with this public health advice, the above guidance will remain unchanged. The position will be reviewed again at the end of November.
“Schools are asked to communicate this information to parents and pupils to ensure that this important mitigating measure is adhered to in line with the guidance. The Department will update its online guidance and communicate this information through normal media and social media channels.”
Over recent weeks since schools returned in early September, the prevalence of COVID infection among schoolchildren has seen the greatest increase, with seven-day infection rates highest among 5-19 year olds.
Chart above showing the infection rates of COVID-19 through 5 year age ranges over the last seven days in Northern Ireland.