Schools across the country have returned this week and the Secretary of State for Education gave a statement to House of Commons.
Nadhim Zahawi, outlined additional measures that schools would adhere to, to ensure the disruption experienced from covid was reduced as much as possible. Mr Zahawi confirmed an overhaul and expansion of in-school testing for both teachers and students as well as the previously announced return of masks in class.
The Member of Parliament for Winchester & Chandler's Ford said; “The Secretary of State knows I do not like the classroom mask mandate, one little bit. What so many constituents, who've contacted me, have said is that once again we're holding children to a different standard to we are the rest of the population.
"We have masks in classrooms, why not masks in every single office where people have to go to work.”
The Secretary of State clarified the Government’s position on this saying; “I would just remind the House that the guidance, rather than mandate, of mask wearing both in communal parts, as part of Plan B which we announced at the end of last year, and of course now the guidance for wearing masks in secondary schools in the classroom.
"He mentions the unfairness of this, I would agree with him and I hope my statement struck the right tone, in terms of what children have had to endure over the past 2 years because of the pandemic.
Mr Brine also took the opportunity today to ask the Education Secretary for the Government’s Covid exit plan for schools, following on from an exchange with the Prime Minister earlier in the day, asking; "We are testing, testing, testing our children; that has an impact on them and their mental health. Where does he see that in six months’ time or in 12 months’ time when they return after next Christmas? In short, I am asking him: what is his exit strategy for schools from covid?"
Mr Zahawi said; “I think our plan is clear, as the Prime Minister set out that on 26th January, we'll review all of the Plan B, in fact they are sunset on 26th January. And I hope by then, as we see more evidence which at the moment clearly demonstrates that the Prime Minister was absolutely right not to go any further and not to lockdown the country at Christmas or in the new year.
I hope we'll be one of the first major economies in the world to demonstrate to the world how you can transition this virus from pandemic to endemic and I hope get back to what normal life looks like for students as well for the rest of the economy.”
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