Update on the wearing of face coverings from 20th January 2022
An update for all education and childcare settings following the Prime Minister’s announcement of the end of Plan B Today, the Prime Minister announced that all Plan B measures will be removed in England, with a full return to Plan A by Thursday 27 January. In education and childcare settings, this means: From tomorrow, Thursday 20 January, face coverings are no longer recommended in classrooms and teaching spaces for staff, and pupils and students in year 7 and above. They were introduced in classrooms at the start of the spring term as a temporary measure. From Thursday 27 January, face coverings are no longer recommended in communal areas for staff, and pupils and students in year 7 and above. This decision comes in response to national infection data showing the prevalence of COVID-19 to be on a downward trajectory. Whilst there are some groups where cases are likely to continue rising, it is likely that the Omicron wave has now peaked nationally. There remains significant pressure on the NHS but hospital admissions have stabilised, and the number of patients in Intensive Care Units (ICU) remain low and are falling. This means it is right we remove the most stringent restrictions around wearing face coverings from education, but the virus is still with us, and continuing with proportionate protective measures remains vital to protect education. Local directors of public health are able to recommend the use of face coverings in communal areas, across their area only, where DfE and public health experts judge the measure to be proportionate due to specific health concerns. This is a temporary measure. Directors of public health will continue to advise individual settings experiencing outbreaks. Any local introduction of face coverings will be subject to routine review and removed at the earliest opportunity.
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