Masks back on in York school’s classrooms as Covid cases soar

A YORK school head has gone beyond Government guidelines by asking all staff and pupils to cover their faces again in class to help tackle the city’s surge in Covid cases.

Sharon Keelan-Beardsley, head of All Saints RC School, said Covid infection rates were rising rapidly across York and, although the school had followed government guidelines at all points throughout the pandemic, she believed it now needed to ‘deviate slightly.’

She said that until further notice, she would be asking all staff and students to go back to wearing face coverings inside, including in classrooms.

“I hope that this will be a short term measure, but I believe that morally we need to address this rise proactively and decisively,” she said.

“We have had a significant number of staff who are having to self-isolate due to being contacted by the contact tracing app, and therefore we need to do everything we can to keep school open and running effectively.”

She said track and trace had also affected a large number of Year 12 students and she asked parents to stress to them the importance of social distancing, hand washing etc.

“This is the last thing I was expecting to have to do and I am aware that some of you will hold strong views about the effectiveness of face coverings. However, we need to do everything we can to bring infection rates in the city back down and keep our young people in school.”

The Department for Education said that from May 17, in line with Step 3 of the roadmap, face coverings were no longer recommended for pupils and staff in classrooms but this was not mandatory.

Meanwhile, Sharon Stoltz, Director of Public Health at City of York Council, has written to parents to appeal for their help in keeping cases down as the city sees a rise in cases, particularly among those groups who are unvaccinated.

She said: “Given this variant spreads more easily and secondary schools up and down the country have been impacted ,we are putting in place extra precautions, including asking pupils to wear face coverings in communal spaces or where social distancing can’t be maintained, to keep pupils and staff safe and also to reduce the numbers needing to self-isolate when a test is positive.”

York Press | News