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Covid-19: Don’t abandon mask wearing in schools, say health experts

BMJ 2021; 373 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.n1186 (Published 10 May 2021) Cite this as: BMJ 2021;373:n1186

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  1. Matthew Limb
  1. London, UK

Covid rules in England requiring secondary school pupils to wear face coverings in classrooms could be dropped from mid-May, despite warnings from health experts and teaching unions.

Education secretary Gavin Williamson last week said that the requirement would be relaxed no sooner than 17 May, as part of the third stage of the “roadmap” out of lockdown. This is expected to be confirmed on 10 May by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, alongside easing of other controls.

But leading scientists have warned that guidance on masks should remain in place for longer and called for more transparency surrounding infections data. They cited signs of an increase of infections in schools that are forcing some to close and the spread of troubling new virus variants linked to schools.

Deepti Gurdasani, a clinical epidemiologist and senior lecturer in machine learning at Queen Mary University of …

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