Copy: Your MP
The news that face masks will be dropped in classrooms in advance of the wider release of Plan B restrictions is welcome. However, you should never have reintroduced them in the first place based on such scant evidence. I hope that you now realise this was a grave mistake.
We must never again subjugate the wellbeing of children to adults’ – or teaching unions’ – political interests.
Further, unless the Department for Education now steps in to curtail the abilities of local authorities to introduce measures themselves, I fear that millions of children will still be subjected to masks in schools for months to come.
Indeed, even before your baffling decision to reintroduce face masks in classrooms, many individual public health authorities, for example, Hertfordshire, had already imposed them on their region’s schoolchildren.
Your foolish capitulation in January has emboldened politically motivated groups to continue to push unevidenced restrictions onto our children.
How does the Department for Education now propose to take back control and ensure that our children have the schooling they deserve: face to face, without arbitrary impingements on their communication and with the full breadth of educational experience?
To reverse the damage, the new guidance you issue must be extremely strongly worded indeed. You should certainly forbid local authorities from unilaterally implementing face masks in schools. In some US states where governors have banned mask mandates, they have protected children by making legal provision for parental opt-out.
Even better, you could mandate that masks are purely voluntary at the choice of the child and can not be enforced, required or even ” strongly encouraged” in school. No child should be treated differently – penalised, isolated, made to sit at the back of the class or excluded from education- for choosing not to wear a mask. They harm communication, hamper learning, and particularly discriminate against deaf children and those who rely on facial cues.
After all, even the most militant proponents of cloth masks now admit that they have little to no utility.
Your name, your address
PS: When will you drop asymptomatic testing for schoolchildren, as recommended by Camilla Kingdon, President of the RCPCH?