Face coverings in Neath Port Talbot schools
01 September 2020
Neath Port Talbot Council is advising its primary schools that pupils do not need to wear masks following the Welsh Government’s decision to let schools and councils rule on the issue.
This is based on advice from UNICEF, the World Health Organisation and the Welsh Government’s Chief Medical Officer, though anyone wishing to wear a mask will be able to do so.
Secondary Schools however are being advised that pupils should wear face coverings in communal areas until Head Teachers and governing bodies have gained further assurance by completing risk assessments.
This safe and cautious approach will guide the implementation of measures needed in secondary schools.
On Home to School Transport, the council says the position is clear and face coverings must be worn by youngsters aged 11 or over – amounting to around 2,800 pupils across the county borough.
The council proposes distributing masks to pupils at zero cost to schools, parents and pupils initially. Free masks will then be subject to funding from the Welsh Government in the medium term.
The masks will be made available to children required to use them at their schools initially which could mean their first journey to return to lessons may have to be made without a face covering.
Neath Port Talbot Council Leader, Cllr Rob Jones, said: “It is generally accepted school is the best setting for children’s education and parents can be assured we are doing everything possible to get our children back to the classroom as efficiently and also safely as possible.”
The council’s Cabinet Member for Education, Skills and Culture, Cllr Peter Rees added: “Overall, it is the Council’s intention to keep the position under close review, particularly during the initial two week period at the start of term.
“We will listen to any concerns and should there be material change to the regulations and guidance, the position will be reviewed further.”
A letter to Neath Port Talbot Council’s head teachers setting out the background to the council’s face coverings policy is available here https://www.npt.gov.uk/22550.