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£2.3m to Provide Face Coverings for Secondary Schools

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The Welsh Government has committed more than £2.3 million to provide free face coverings for all learners in secondary school and further education settings.

Education Minister Kirsty Williams made the announcement which will see £1.8 million and £469,000 provided to schools and further education settings respectively.

The Chief Medical Officer recommends the risk assessed use of face coverings in secondary schools in a range of settings where other physical controls cannot be or are unlikely to be maintained.

This may include communal areas of schools where the physical layout means that contact groups cannot remain separated to the same degree.

The announcement follows a statement made by both the Education Minister and the Minister for Health and Social Services Vaughan Gething in which they provided new guidance regarding the use of face coverings in education settings.

Education Minister Kirsty Williams said:

I am pleased to announce the Welsh Government has made more than £2.3 million available to provide face coverings to all pupils of secondary school age or in further education settings.

It is vital children and young people, parents and the education workforce feel confident that all measures are being taken to protect them as they return to schools and colleges.

We have also recently updated our operational guidance for schools and FE to require settings and local authorities to undertake risk assessments of their estates to determine if face coverings should be recommended for their staff and young people in communal areas – this includes school and college transport.

A WLGA spokesperson said:

Schools and local authorities have planned extensively over the summer to prepare for the reopening of schools and mitigate the risks of COVID-19 for students, teachers and support staff.

These plans include test, trace and protect and arrangements to provide cover for staff who need to self-isolate where possible or the arrangement of alternative provision.