Ipswich headteacher: Face masks in lessons crucial to schools curbing Covid

Copleston High School principal Andy Green said face masks had significant benefits in schools. Pict

Copleston High School principal Andy Green said he was 'pleased the government has now made the wearing of face masks in lessons for all pupils mandatory' - Credit: Archant

Face masks in lessons and other Covid-secure measures in schools are more important in reducing coronavirus infections than staggering children's return, an Ipswich headteacher has said.

The government's post-lockdown roadmap gives schools the green light to reopen to all pupils on Monday, March 8.

Prime minister Boris Johnson said: "Our priority has always been getting children back into school, which we know is crucial for their education and wellbeing."

However, Geoff Barton - former headteacher of King Edward VI School in Bury St Edmunds and now general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) - said that while his union shared that desire: “We remain concerned about the idea of a ‘big bang’ approach of a full return of pupils all at the same time."

Andy Green, principal of Copleston High School, in Ipswich, said that only time will tell whether the "big bang" approach will have been the right move or not.

However, he said: "The responsibility is on schools to make sure we do all we can to maximise health and safety measures - I actually think that is more important than the 'big bang' argument.

Copleston High School. Picture: CHALROTTE BOND

'The responsibility is on schools to make sure we do all we can to maximise health and safety measures,' Copleston High School principal Andy Green says - Credit: Charlotte Bond

"You could stagger children coming back but if the health and safety systems aren't sufficient, the virus will spread anyway."

Mr Green said he was pleased the government has now made the wearing of face masks in lessons for all pupils mandatory - a move Copleston, which is part of the Gippeswyk Community Educational Trust, made during the second national lockdown.

"We stuck our neck out on that some months ago and not everyone thought we were right," he said.

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"However, Copleston and the trust always made it cleat that focusing on health and safety was the most important thing."

Copleston High School's new multi-million pound building. Picture: OAKSMERE DESIGN/COPLESTON HIGH SC

Copleston High School, in Ipswich, will continue with its Covid-secure measures - Credit: Archant

Mr Green said the Foxhall Road school, which moved into new multi-million pound premises last year, would also stick to other safety measures such as staggered start times and one-way systems.

Lunch breaks will also be socially distanced and kept to small groups, with students required to wear face masks when they are not eating or drinking.

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