Parents and carers across Derbyshire are being asked to wear a face covering on the school run by the county's public health chief.
Dean Wallace, Derbyshire County Council’s public health director, has written a letter to all Derbyshire schools, to be passed to all parents and carers in the county on the issue.
It comes as new Covid-19 infections are reported across the county and city and the nation enters its second lockdown – but with the significant difference that schools remain open to all pupils.
Mr Wallace has previously said it is up to schools to make judgements on face covering policy and to give advice to parents and carers. Some schools have chosen to make it mandatory to wear face coverings in communal areas, apart from in class.
In early September, when schools reopened, Mr Wallace expressed concerns at parents and carers for breaching social distancing while picking up and dropping off their children and urged them to act as role models for their children.
Mr Wallace has continued to stress that wearing a face covering does not remove the need to remain socially distant – but to be paired with it, along with good hand hygiene.
He wrote in a letter, seen by the Local Democracy Reporting Service, sent out yesterday (November 5): “As I’m no doubt you are aware, cases of Covid-19 are rising and the Government has announced a month-long lockdown across the whole of England.
“Firstly, I’d like to thank you for all you are doing to help prevent the spread of the virus and encourage you to continue with your efforts to protect yourself, your loved ones and the whole school community.
“Until we have a vaccine, our best defence is the basics – handwashing, social distancing and face covering. Given they’ve been in place for some time, it’s easy to forget them in the flurry of new announcements but they have never been more vital.
“Schools are doing all they can to reduce the spread of the virus, including increasing cleaning, creating teaching bubbles and staggering drop-off and arrival times.
“You can continue to play your part too by following school procedures and social distancing, particularly during drop-off and pick up times when larger groups come together.
“We know the virus spreads more when people are close together.
“An infected person can pass on the virus through talking, breathing, coughing or sneezing, even if they do not have any symptoms.
“When you are with people you do not live with, and to avoid contracting the virus or passing it on, you should: Avoid physical and close contact; stay two metres apart whenever possible; and avoid standing in groups.
“With winter approaching, we cannot afford to be complacent and I’d ask everyone to redouble their efforts to stick to the rules.
“If we all follow these rules, we will help to keep everyone safe.
“I’d also ask you to consider wearing a face covering when dropping off and collecting your children as an additional measure to help reduce the risk of Covid-19 spreading.
“This doesn’t replace social distancing but is an extra recommendation to reduce the potential risk of transmission.”
Keep up to date with all the latest local and national developments here: https://www.questmedianetwork.co.uk/news/daily-coronavirus-updates/.