The new year meant more uncertainty for secondary school students with regards to Covid rules.

Ministers announced on December 31 that it is now mandatory for pupils to wear face masks as the new term kicks off amid rising Omicron cases.

Although the Department for Education insisted the measures were merely temporary and set for review on January 26, parents across south east London were left divided over the new rules.

The wearing of face masks was previously limited to communal school areas for students in year 7 and above, but pupils must now also wear face coverings in the classroom.

In light of the new guidance, we asked News Shopper readers to share their thoughts on the matter, and while some saw no problem with their children wearing masks in the classroom, others branded the provision “ridiculous”.

In favour of masks:

Geoff Mason said: “Quite right, schools have always been a breeding pot for bugs”

Carol Dickson said: “Yes, best to stay safe”

Lauren Wiltshire said: “I really don’t see the problem”

Kevin Hellewell said: “I think it’s the right idea”

Joanne Sumner said: “If NHS staff can wear them for 12-18 hours a day, then it's hardly a hardship for the kids!”

Bea Hemple said: “Fine, I hope the schools are opening the windows too”

Against secondary school students wearing masks:

Stacey Ovenell said: “Mine don’t, never have, never will”

Ryan Hewett said: “My son has exemptions due to epilepsy but I don't agree with it at all”

Denise Bewick said: “Don’t need to wear them [they] don’t do anything”

Paris Young said: “Ridiculous”

Chris Vaughan said: “Masks don’t work. No one should be wearing them”

It sounds as though many parents will be eagerly awaiting January 26’s review…

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