Secondary schools will be given “obligatory guidance” that pupils should wear face coverings when moving around schools from next Monday, Scotland’s Education Secretary has confirmed.
John Swinney said that from August 31 pupils should be wearing masks in areas where physical distancing is not possible.
This will include corridors and communal areas, and is also linked to areas where voices could be raised which brings an increased potential for aerosol transmission.
Speaking on the BBC’s Good Morning Scotland radio programme, he said the Scottish Government was going further than the World Health Organisation guidance by recommending masks on school buses.
He said: “From August 31, young people over the age of 12 in secondary schools should be habitually wearing face coverings when they’re moving around in schools and corridors and in communal areas where it is difficult to deliver the physical distancing which is an inherent part of the guidance that the education recovery group has put in place after widespread consultation and dialogue.”
He said that headteachers had felt the rules would be a “beneficial move” during discussions last week.
Mr Swinney continued: “Now, of course, there will be exemptions for this, because the wearing of face coverings is not suitable for all individuals and that has to be respected.”
The guidance will state that pupils should not be excluded from school if they do not wish to wear a face covering.
The Education Secretary added: “That will be explicit within the guidance that we put out, that a young person is not to be excluded for that reason, but it’s obligatory guidance on all secondary schools, special schools and grant-aided school
The World Health Organisation’s (WHO) new guidance on face coverings in schools said young people over 12 in schools, where physical distancing is not possible and in areas of high transmission, face coverings should be recommended.