A multitude of schools in England will keep forcing their students to wear masks in defiance of Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who ordered mandates to be scrapped.
Outrage is once again brewing in England, as more than 100 schools have reportedly announced to parents that they will keep forcing their students to wear masks.
This is despite Prime Minister Boris Johnson having urged schools in the country to drop the requirement, announcing on Wednesday that the measure was to be completely scrapped.
According to a report by The Telegraph, a number of schools have said that the mask-wearing measure will remain in place “until further notice”, with justifications of high COVID numbers, as well as the measure resulting in lower levels of absences, being used to justify disobeying the PM.
“Despite the prime minister’s announcement [on Wednesday] regarding wearing of face masks in classrooms, I will be requesting that students do wear them in classrooms as well as corridors in line with other local and national schools,” The Guardian reports one headmaster as writing in a message sent to parents.
Downing Street however has reiterated that schools should follow the government’s instruction.
“The Prime Minister also thinks the schools should follow the latest guidance,” the Evening Standard reports a spokesman for the Prime Minister as saying. “We have been clear we have removed the requirement for face masks to be worn in classrooms and will remove advice for face masks to be worn in communal areas from 27 January.”
“Children have been one of the hardest hit as a result of this disruption through the pandemic and we recognise the impact this has had on their education,” the statement continued.
Britain’s education secretary has also insisted that “all schools” should be abandoning mandatory face masks in order to ensure students can “enjoy a normal experience”.
Principals ignoring the request will be written to by the Department for Education, who will, according to The Telegraph report, explain why the measure must go.
Conservative MP Robert Halfon, who chairs the education select committee, has also reportedly warned that schools must “get rid of masks once and for all.”
The publication also reports that the Parent campaign group, UsForThem, has claimed that they have been contacted by parents with children in over 100 different schools about the continuation of the measures.
“Parents are totally distraught that their children’s schools have decided they will continue with masks in class with no end in sight,” said the group’s director, Arabella Skinner.
“As we have seen throughout the pandemic, schools often go far beyond the recommendations and beyond what the rest of society is required to do,” she continued.
Sadiq Khan and Health Secretary Javid Stick to Masks Despite England Mask Mandate Scrapped https://t.co/Jn1LuFkMB7
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) January 20, 2022
London Mayor Sadiq Khan has also announced that Londoners looking to avail of the city’s underground rail system will be forced to wear a mask, despite the PM’s announcement that such measures would be scrapped.
“Reminder: wearing a face covering is still mandatory on all TfL services unless you’re exempt,” Khan wrote in a post online. ” I’ll wear mine when I’m out and about. Please continue to wear yours.”
As mayor of London, Khan appears to have the ability to force the mandate, thanks to railway bylaws that he has control over. As of next week he will be able to refuse service to people not wearing masks, but not to fine them, as is the case now.
UK Health Secretary Sajid Javid supported Khan’s decision, despite his own government ruling the measures as unnecessary.
“I think it will be sensible [to wear a mask] on the Tube in London, for example,” Javid said during an interview on Thursday.
The resistance against the loosening of mask-wearing restrictions shown by some sectors of English society comes as other European countries look set to curb restrictions against the Chinese Coronavirus.
Both Ireland and France are preparing to lighten lockdown rules, with the Irish Prime Minister (Taoiseach) likely to announce the loosening of measures Friday evening.
French Prime Minister Jean Castex has meanwhile unveiled the nation’s escape plan from lockdown measures, with outdoor mask-wearing set to be loosened on February 2, with other measures to be walked back later in the month.
The country will however continue implementing its regime of vaccine certs, which will block unjabbed individuals who haven’t recently recovered from COVID from accessing bars, restaurants, and interregional public transport.