Face coverings could be required in Silvertown school, academy trust founder says

Oasis Academy Silvertown. Picture: Arnaud Stephenson

Oasis Academy Silvertown. Picture: Arnaud Stephenson - Credit: Photo: Arnaud Stephenson

The founder of an academy trust that runs a Silvertown school has said that pupils could be given face masks for moving between classrooms.

Youngsters at Oasis Academy Silvertown could be instructed to wear the coverings when using corridors and other communal areas, despite prime minister Boris Johnson indicating it would not be a national policy for England at the start of the new term.

Secondary school pupils in Scotland have already been told they must wear face masks in communal parts of school buildings from Monday, August 31.

Steve Chalke, founder of Oasis Community Learning, which has 52 academies across England, said giving pupils visors and masks for moving in between lessons made schools “as Covid-safe as possible”.

“Oasis is responsible for 32,000 children, and around about 4,500 staff, not just teachers but all staff in schools,” he said.

“And we are responsible to make those schools as Covid-safe as possible.

“This isn’t about our primary schools, and it’s not about our secondary schools in lessons, and it’s not about the bubbles, it is about transition in schools.

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“And we all have a responsibility to one another, as the prime minister said, ‘hands, face and space’.

“So this isn’t in rebellion against the prime minister, this is trying to enact what Boris has asked us to do. We’re trying to work out the details of the big picture.”

A trust spokesperson said that the measures were among those being considered, adding: “As with schools across the country, Oasis Community Learning academies are preparing for reopening to students in September.

“Our number one priority is the safety and wellbeing of our students and staff.

“Therefore we are currently considering a range of safety measures, including face visors and masks, and special arrangements for when our older students are moving around communal areas of the academies.”

Children aged 11 and over are already required to wear face coverings on public transport as well as in shops and some other indoor environments, unless they are exempt for medical reasons.