Eastbourne schools split on face masks rules

Schools in Eastbourne are split over the government’s decision to relax rules around face masks.

From today (Thursday, January 20) face masks in England’s secondary schools are no longer compulsory.

The announcement came from the Prime Minister yesterday (Wednesday, January 19) as part of easing Plan B measures.

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The PM also confirmed that the advice to work from home would be dropped immediately and from next Thursday (January 27) there will be no more mandatory face masks in public places or covid passports.

Willingdon Community School (Photo by Jon Rigby) SUS-170914-113414008

Despite this change in rules, Willingdon Community School is choosing to keep masks on.

Headteacher Emily May said, “Whilst we absolutely understand how uncomfortable face masks are and how it can negatively impact on effective communication and teaching and learning, our priority at Willingdon Community School is the safety of our student, staff and parent body.

“Our students have been fantastic wearing masks since October 2021 and understand that this small act of kindness is helping to keep our community safe.

“We still have significant covid infections within the school community and a 10 per cent rise of covid cases in this local area. It is not sensible to relax this measure yet. However, we do appreciate that each school needs to be able to make their own decision based on their school context and it needs to be reviewed regularly.”

Eastbourne College. Photo by Toby Phillips. SUS-200313-135555001

On the other hand, Eastbourne College is choosing to get rid of masks in the classroom.

A college spokesperson said, “We have advised our pupils that, from Monday (January 24), face coverings no longer need to be worn in classrooms, during lessons or in meetings, in line with government guidance.

“However, we have asked our pupils and staff to continue to wear them in communal areas and on transport, for the time being. Anyone wishing to continue to wear a face covering at other times may of course choose to do so.”

Face mask rules change in England's secondary school