Sturgeon Orders Scottish School Pupils to Wear Masks Despite UK Gov’s Guidance

EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND - JANUARY 20: Scottish First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, arrives for First Minister's Questions at the Scottish Parliament Holyrood on January 20, 2022 in Edinburgh, Scotland. (Photo by Fraser Bremner - Pool/Getty Images)
Photo by Fraser Bremner - Pool/Getty Images

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced that children in Scottish schools will still be required to wear facial coverings in class.

Nicola Sturgeon, the First Minister of Scotland told Members of the Scottish Parliament in Holyrood (Scottish Parliament) on Tuesday that while other restrictions will be lifted masks will still be required to be worn by school children to provide them with “important protection”.

This contrasts starkly to England where the UK’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced in Parliament on the 19th that “from tomorrow [20th January] we will no longer require face masks in classrooms and the department for education will shortly remove national guidance for their use in communal areas”.

Johnson justified this move by suggesting that “the data” the government looked at “carefully” suggested that there was no longer a need to “mandate the wearing of face masks anywhere”.

The Scottish First Minister however insisted that as “cases” amongst young people “are rising” she still believes face coverings are required in Scottish schools to provide “important protection”. Sturgeon claimed “many young people understand and agree” with the decision to keep a mask mandate in schools.

Due to devolution in the UK, brought in by Labour’s former Prime Minister Tony Blair in 1998, Scotland is able to use its devolved powers to pass its own coronavirus restrictions, even if they conflict with what is decided in the UK Parliament.

Scotland did, however, lift several restrictions from 05:00 on the 24th of January 2022 – nightclubs were allowed to reopen, non-professional indoor contact sports were allowed to resume, attendance limits were removed from indoor events and the one-metre distancing and table service rules in hospitality have now ended.

This will come as a relief to Scots who recently faced some of the heaviest restrictions in the United Kingdom and who as recently as December 2021 were subjected to a 500 person cap on crowds at outdoor professional sporting events, limits on numbers at restaurants and pubs, and mandatory mask wearing in shops, bars, restaurants and cafes and the closure of nightclubs.



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