NOTadhim Zahawi said he hoped the instructions for high school students to wear face masks in classrooms would not be in place “one more day than we need.”
Students returning to secondary schools in England this week will be required to wear face masks in a bid to curb the spread of the omicron variant until at least January 26, when the current Plan B rules are due to expire. They will also be tested for Covid on site at least once before returning to classrooms, and will be asked to take tests twice a week at home.
Speaking on Times Radio, the Education Secretary said: “This is one of many really important mitigation measures to ensure that education is fully open and children are in. school, in class… What we’re saying is, look, with omicron, because it’s so contagious, we want to make sure that we give you so many tools to be able to ensure that education is opened.”
But he admitted that it was “more difficult, of course, to teach with masks in the classroom.”
Ministers will meet on Wednesday to review current Plan B measures when they return to parliament – three weeks after the measures were introduced.
However, Mr Zahawi said there was “nothing in the data” to suggest that further restrictions on coronaviruses will be needed later this week.
“There is some very good data from London that it looks like infection rates are leveling off or even dropping further. But we are seeing leaks in the over 50s in terms of infections, and it’s usually the over 50s. years that end with severe infection and hospitalization, “he told the BBC.