Rules on face masks in Tameside schools have changed

Students across Tameside return from summer half term to updated government guidance on face masks in the classroom.

To control a rise in local cases of the 'Delta' variant of Covid-19, the government recommends students wear face masks in school. These measures were first introduced after educational establishments re-opened in March, before they were relaxed on May 17. Masks are being re-introduced as a temporary response to the outbreak. 

In a statement on their website, Mossley Hollins High School and Droylsden Academy said: “Students will be expected to wear a face covering as soon as they enter the school building and face coverings will be required in classrooms. This temporary measure will be reviewed every 2 weeks and control measures could be eased or increased depending on the rate of transmission in the local community. 

“From Monday, students should wear their black face covering previously issued by school or suitable plain black alternative. If your child no longer has a suitable black face covering, they should attend school as normal on Monday and we will provide them with a suitable alternative. If your child is one of the small number of students who are exempt from wearing a face covering, this exemption will still stand and your child should wear their lanyard so that they are easily identifiable to staff. 

“We are also asking all students to attend school in their full school PE kit on days when they have a PE lesson as they have done previously. This will avoid students having to use the changing rooms where the risk of transmission may be higher.” 

Hyde High School received updated guidance from the Director of Population Health, Dr Jeanelle de Gruchy, to suggest pupils and staff wear face coverings until the end of the term. 

In response, Headteacher Andrea Radcliffe said: “I must ask that all pupils (other than those who are medically exempt) bring a plain face mask for school on Monday; pupils will be expected to wear masks throughout the school day until further notice. I will review the situation every two weeks as guidance is changing quite frequently at the moment.  

“We were looking forward to being mask-free, however the safety of our staff, pupils and wider community remains our priority. Thank you so much for your understanding and your support in this matter.” 

Nearly all schools and colleges in Tameside are employing home testing or rapid testing for Covid-19 and this is set to continue. One of the most popular methods is for students to test themselves on a Sunday and Wednesday evening, self-isolating if they have a positive result.  

Headteacher at All Saints Catholic College, Mr Diamond, released a letter to parents reading: “Following a recommendation to all secondary headteachers, face coverings are to be reintroduced. Like many of you, I watch the data regarding the rising number of cases across Greater Manchester daily, and whilst Tameside has the lowest number of cases the data does show a significant rise. I’m sure all of you will agree that we do not want to return to sending groups of pupils home to self-isolate.” 

To find out more about your local school restrictions, visit their individual website for guidance.  

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