Students and staff in Lytham St. Anne’s have been requested by Lancashire County Council public health leaders to continue wearing their face masks amid rising Covid-19 infection rates. This is despite the government’s decision to lift the restriction at a national level. As part of the next stage of relaxing lockdown measures in England, from Monday 17th May pupils in secondary schools will no longer be expected to wear face coverings in classrooms and communal areas.
However, public health leaders from Lancashire County Council (LCC) are now advising that pupils and staff at Lancashire schools and colleges should continue to wear face coverings. They have written to schools and colleges with this recommendation. This advice will be reviewed ahead of Monday 21st June, the next milestone in the government’s roadmap.
They add that continuing to use face coverings in schools along with maintaining hand washing, social distancing, fresh air and regular testing will help to control the spread of the variant.
Dr Sakthi Karunanithi, Lancashire County Council’s Director of Public Health, said: ‘This is a very tough recommendation to make at a time when the restrictions are set to ease nationally on Monday 17 May. But the increase in prevalence of this variant in the North West means we need to take some prudent steps to help reduce its spread. Wearing face coverings in schools and colleges for a few weeks longer will help to contain this and ensure the variant doesn’t take hold. This is vital so we can build on the good work to keep levels of infection, hospital admissions and the numbers of people becoming seriously ill low. We want to do all we can to keep our schools and colleges open. The classroom is the best place for children to learn. Wearing face coverings for just a few weeks longer until we control the situation is an effective way of helping us to do this. This is local health protection guidance and ultimately the decision on usage of face coverings in individual schools and colleges will be made by headteachers and principals. Thank you to headteachers, principals, schools, colleges and parents for their support so far. The county council’s public health team will continue to work with Public Health England, the NHS and other local authorities and agencies to monitor the situation and advise schools and colleges accordingly.’