Calvin Robinson

My students shouldn’t be made to wear face masks

Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

Has anyone who is recommending the use of masks in schools ever spent any significant amount of time working with young people? It seems unlikely.

Children simply will not wear their masks correctly, if at all. Girls will constantly be adjusting them; boys will be flicking them across the room and pulling each others’ elastic bands. They’ll all be pulling them down to their necks at break time, resulting in pieces of food and drink being spilt inside. That, and the fact that they’ll be wearing them around their necks, mirroring the behaviour of adults they see on public transport, further trapping bacteria. If anything, face masks will be detrimental to the health of young people.

Of course, there is much to be debated about whether face masks are beneficial at all, with the deputy chief medical officer, Jenny Harries, recently announcing that they may, in fact, increase health risks. I’m not a medical expert; I’ll leave the science to the professionals. What I do know is that masks will not work in a school environment.

I’ll leave the science to the professionals –but what I do know is that masks will not work in schools

We can model best practice and instruct young people on how to wear their masks properly, but it’s nigh on impossible to get 1,200 students all doing the same thing. Even the kids who won’t be fidgeting with their masks and touching their face every few minutes will still have to take the masks off when they enter a classroom and put them back on after lessons. This repeated removal renders them effectively useless and possibly infested with harmful germs. Consider how many times a child forgets to wash their PE kit, and that only needs to be done once per week. Now consider how many children will fail to wash their face masks every night, after playing with them all day.

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