British Education Minister Nadhim Zahawi said on Monday that, in order to preserve face-to-face classes, secondary school students will have to wear masks and schools will have them tested for coronavirus before starting the new quarter this week in England.
Speaking to the BBC, the minister stressed that The priority of the Government is “that the schools remain open”, since the past confinements had pernicious effects on young people, although he did not rule out having to resort to distance education if the health situation requires it.
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According to the regulations in force in England (Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales have their own competences), secondary school students, who already wore masks in common areas, must now also wear them inside the classrooms, a measure criticized by some deputies who consider that the benefit is marginal and instead affects their learning and mental health.
In addition, the institutes must test all students for covid antigens before classes begin, which begin in a staggered manner from this Tuesday, as today is a public holiday in the United Kingdom.
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Zahawi has also promised to supply 7,000 air purifiers to install in poorly ventilated areas in schools, although unions have criticized it as insufficient as there are at least 300,000 classrooms in the English region.
These measures will be in effect until January 26, although a review is expected this Wednesday, when Health Minister Sajid Javid is expected to appear in the House of Commons.
On the other hand, the Government of Prime Minister Boris Johnson has asked those responsible for public sector organizations to make “contingency plans” in the event of the possible absence of up to 25% of the workforce due to covid contagion, especially in Health and Education.
Although the data have not been updated these days with the usual frequency, it is calculated that on December 29 the United Kingdom registered a record of 209,743 infections, driven by the omicron variant, while yesterday 137,583 cases were computed in England – a decrease compared to to 162,572 the previous day-, the most populated region of the country, with 56 of 67 million inhabitants.
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