Paul Whiteman, general secretary of school leaders’ union NAHT, said: “Speculation about the need to use face coverings inside school premises is in danger of getting out of hand and adding unnecessary distractions to an already complicated set of arrangements for schools and families to cope with next week.
“Everyone wants to see pupils back in class, with their teachers and their classmates. School leaders and their teams have worked hard over the summer playing their part to get schools ready for the start of the Autumn term.
"We do need the government to demonstrate that they are capable of managing this situation properly. Any hint of confusion will unsettle pupils, their families and school staff, and we can ill afford that with time running out before England’s schools re-open next week. There needs to be absolute clarity now about who is required to wear face coverings and when they need to be worn, this should include clear information in regards to pupils, teachers and parents.
“If face coverings become mandatory, then schools will have to purchase many thousands of masks. This will undoubtedly come at an additional and unforeseen cost and may result in shortages as demand increases. The government needs to guarantee that enough masks will be available to schools and that the costs of getting hold of them are met in full and without delay.”
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