Potential Harms of Face Coverings in Schools

This paper notes the potential harms of children wearing masks throughout the day, focusing on the following four aspects:

1. Impediment to children learning effectively
  • Communication made more difficult, reducing empathy and understanding, and increasing detachment and anxiety
  • Poor learning environment created by effects including increased irritability, headaches, difficulty concentrating, reduced happiness, reluctance to go to school, malaise, impaired learning, drowsiness or fatigue
  • No evidence presented to explain why Government changed its advice
2. Physical harms
  • Eye problems
  • Skin and ear problems
  • Headaches
  • Respiratory and heart problems
3. Increase in contamination
  • Microbial contamination on masks, even when used correctly, increases when used by non-medical personnel
  • Risk goes up with the length of time a mask is worn
4. Psychological and social harms
  • Rise in reports of anxiety, behavioural changes and sleep disorders in children – particularly acute in pupils with SEN
  • Concerns about reduced social cohesion through issues around recognition and connections, stigmatisation