More than 100 heads of schools across England have written to their parents warning them that pupils must still wear face covers in class.

Union bosses stoked the fires of revolt this week after accusing Boris Johnson of flouting his ‘duty of care’ to teachers over the new guidance on masks.

The Prime Minister this week announced a dramatic easing of Covid curbs, from WFH guidance to face coverings and Covid isolation, as the Omicron wave subsides.

But critics have claimed that Mr Johnson was axing virus restrictions to appease his mutinous backbench and save his own skin as he fights for his political career amid the dramatic fallout from ‘Partygate’.

Schools are now defying the Government’s anti-mask guidance and telling parents that pupils must continue to wear face coverings.

It has been revealed that ministers are not going to stop schools forcing students to use face covers. 

Is your child being sent home because he or she refuses to wear a mask on his/her face?


Head teachers across the country say that they are struggling either with staff shortages or high rates of Covid in the local community – and argue that masks in classrooms will stem the spread of the virus.

The UK Health Security Agency has released new data showing that Covid incidences among primary school children rose by 41 percent in week ending January 16, to 1,936 cases for every 100,000 five- to nine-year olds.

Schools North East stated that 80 percent of North East schools planned to keep some Covid-related measures. Secondary schools often use face masks in schools and in communal areas.

Andy Byers (head teacher at Framwellgate School in Durham) said that masks are still necessary because the Covid rate in this region is high.

Nadhim Zahawi, Education Secretary, said last night that officials will try to convince schools not to use masks.

He insisted that ‘face-to-face education for all students has consistently been my priority’, adding: ‘National guidance to wear face coverings in communal areas will also be removed in line with the national move out of Plan B. This applies to all schools’.

But in a letter to MPs, he admitted that masks could be reintroduced in the event of an ‘extraordinary’ local Covid outbreak.

MailOnline was told by a DfE insider that there is no legal way for schools to comply with the guidance regarding dropping masks.

‘The guidance that we’ve got on dropping face masks in line with Plan B is exactly that: guidance,’ they claimed. 

Schools across England are in open rebellion against the Government over masks as more than 100 head teachers have written to parents warning that children must continue wearing face coverings in classrooms (file image)

More than 100 heads of schools across England have written to their parents demanding that pupils continue to wear face covers in class (file image).

Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi last night said that local officials would seek to persuade individual schools to abandon masks. But in a letter to MPs, he admitted that masks could be reintroduced in the event of an ‘extraordinary’ local Covid outbreak

Last night Education Secretary Nadhim Zhawi stated that officials will try to convince schools to remove masks. But in a letter to MPs, he admitted that masks could be reintroduced in the event of an ‘extraordinary’ local Covid outbreak

Parents have launched a campaign to prevent ‘overzealous’ schools from imposing masks

Parents have launched a campaign to prevent ‘overzealous’ schools from imposing masks

UsForThem campaigner Molly Kingsley

Parent group UsForThem has urged its supporters to bombard Mr Zahawi with letters to ‘stop overzealous local public health authorities from unilaterally implementing face masks in schools’ (pictured, campaigner Molly Kingsley)

The Prime Minister this week announced a dramatic easing of Covid curbs, from WFH guidance to face coverings and Covid isolation, as the Omicron wave subsides

As the Omicron wave recedes, this week’s Prime Minister declared a drastic easing of Covid curbs. This includes WFH guidance, face covers, and Covid isolation. 

What is happening now? And when will it occur? Boris Johnson, your guide to post-curb rules announces that Covid Plan B will be lifted 


Working from Home 

According to the Prime Minister, people are no longer required to work remotely. He urged people to talk to their employers to discuss arrangements to return to work.



Primary school pupils won’t have to use face covers in the classrooms starting from yesterday.

Next Thursday, January 27, will be the last day that masks are allowed in communal spaces and corridors.



On Thursday, the government will stop requiring the use of facial coverings on public transport and in shops.

However, they insist that masks must be worn in places enclosed and crowded where they could be exposed to people they don’t normally come across.

This meant that the government would ‘trust in the judgement of the British people’ and not criminalize anyone choosing to don one.

COVID Passports

From next Thursday, no need to show proof of immunization or negative results in order to be admitted into nightclubs and other large venues.

However, businesses can still use the NHS Covid Pass at their discretion.



It is likely that an announcement soon will come out regarding the elimination of the requirement for travellers who are fully vaccinated to undergo a Covid screening upon their return to England.

No. 10 indicated that rules would be reviewed at the beginning of January.


In the coming days, plans to relax restrictions on visits to care homes will be made public. Care homes are required to restrict visitors from visiting for up 28 days in the event of a Covid epidemic affecting more than one resident.



Boris Johnson indicated that he does not expect to renew Covid’s legal obligation to self-isolate from Covid once the rules expire on March 24, as he believes it is very likely.

This could be possible even sooner, depending on the available data.

This guidance will replace the legal requirement and encourage people infected with the virus be cautious and considerate.



By July, free Covid lateral flow testing will be discontinued.

People will be pointed towards an online ordering system to purchase the tests, which cost £30 for a pack of seven.

‘We do expect schools to follow it, but we do not have a legal mechanism to coerce schools into doing so. But, we do expect schools will keep their face masks on if there is a reason to do so.

‘We want to work with and support schools, and not take punitive action against them.’

Chris Zarraga, the director of Schools North East, told The Guardian: ‘Schools are still facing real challenges in getting staff cover, increasing staff workload and stress and impacting negatively on wellbeing.

‘There are serious concerns for schools, with local pictures often radically different from the national picture.’

Shuttleworth College in Burnley told parents it would ‘not be removing any of our measures in school at this time’, citing high Covid cases.

Uckfield College in East Sussex said it was keeping masks in force ‘for now’ on the basis that the ‘last thing students want at the moment is more staff absence’.

The Commonweal School in Swindon told parents to ‘ensure that your child brings a suitable mask to school each day’.

Others, including Oxted School in Surrey and Droylesden Academy in Manchester, said they wanted to wait until they had been sent official guidance from the DfE – despite this being published on Wednesday.

And St Peter’s Church of England Aided School in Exeter told parents masks must still be worn in lessons as ‘Covid has not gone away’. They added that wearing face coverings is a ‘kind and thoughtful’ way to support the community.

But the National Deaf Children’s Society has warned that schools which choose to impose masks risk flouting the Equality Act.

Mike Hobday, the society’s director of campaigns, told MailOnline: ‘Government guidance in England does not recommend masks are used by teachers or pupils in class.

‘If schools choose to go against this recommendation, they would need to be confident that they have taken all the action needed to ensure they are complying with the Equality Act so that disabled children can access teaching and learning.

‘Unless these reasonable adjustments are made, there may be little point in deaf children even going to school.’

And Arabella Skinner, a director of parent campaign group UsForThem, told The Telegraph: ‘As we have seen throughout the pandemic, schools often go far beyond the recommendations and beyond what the rest of society is required to do.

‘In the case of masks being removed from class, we had over 100 schools raised with us who are choosing – against government guidance – to keep masks in class.’

Yesterday’s accusations by teaching unions against the Prime Minister were that he had scrapped masks for political and not scientific reasons.

The National Education Union claimed that lifting Omicron curbs ‘too quickly’ could lead to ‘more disruption’ for schools.

Geoff Barton, general secretary of the ASCL, warned: ‘There is a danger that we are heading once again for a situation in which the Government gives the impression that the crisis is over when in actual fact there is huge disruption continuing to take place in education.’

The NEU’s Dr Mary Bousted called the removal of masks ‘premature’, adding: ‘Rather than announcements aimed at saving Boris Johnson’s job, (the) Government should be exercising a duty of care to the nation’s pupils and the staff who educated them.’

In a draft letter for parents to send their local MPs and the Education Secretary, the UsForThem group warned: ‘To reverse the damage, the new guidance you issue must be extremely strongly worded indeed.

‘You should certainly forbid local authorities from unilaterally implementing face masks in schools.

‘In some US states where governors have banned mask mandates, they have protected children by making legal provision for parental opt-out.’

Parentvoice charity Parentkind has found that nearly three quarters of parents with secondary school-aged children don’t support the use of masks in classrooms. Coverings for communal school spaces were more popular with parents. 

On Wednesday Johnson made a statement before the Commons, stating that WFH guidance will be removed immediately. He also announced that rules regarding masks in schools and school would also be dropped as of Thursday. Others restrictions will also be removed, such as compulsory facial coverings in public transport or shops, and Covid tickets for large events and entry into nightclubs.

Is your child being sent home because he or she refuses to wear a mask on his/her face?


The legal requirement that Covid patients isolate themselves will be allowed to expire when regulations are repealed on March 24, 2019. 

Mr Byers told parents the PM’s Plan B U-turn ‘creates some difficulty for us’.

‘Case rates in the northeast are still relatively high. There are currently more than 60 students in the program and only ten people who have tested positive. A small proportion of those people have been quite poorly,’ he said.

‘Other local secondary schools are all in a similar position: high levels of absence with some students missing important face-to-face teaching, and a reliance on supply teachers covering lessons.

‘For this reason I would like to encourage students to continue wearing face coverings for the next two or three weeks until (hopefully) case numbers fall.’

A spokeswoman for school leaders’s union NAHT admitted that there is ‘some concern’ about the easing of Plan B measures.

Its general secretary Paul Whiteman said: ‘The Prime Minister’s statement about lifting plan B measures will feel, to many school leaders, at odds with the current situation on the ground.

‘Mass disruption is ongoing, with high numbers of staff and pupils absent. School leaders are telling us they still feel very much in the eye of the Covid storm.’

Willingdon Community school in Eastbourne, East Sussex wants all its students to keep wearing masks.

Head teacher Emily May said: ‘Our students have been fantastic wearing masks since October 2021 and understand that this small act of kindness is helping to keep our community safe. 

A quarter of small business owners will continue to use WFH through at least APRIL 2023. This is despite changes in government guidance. It’s because they can save substantial money on office space. 

The substantial cost savings that come with not paying for office space means that 25% of small business owners will continue to work from home through April 2023, according to a new study.

Firms with fewer than 50 employees are saving an average of nearly £4,000 a month by not having to pay for an office, according to research from Hitachi Capital Business Finance, and are likely to stick to working from home well into next year.

Boris Johnson had ordered all Government departments to return their civil servants to work ‘as quickly as possible’, as he wanted them to set an example for the nation after lifting restrictions on working at home.

A survey of over 1,000 small-business owners found that 44% planned to work from their home, and 44% plan on hybrid working.

Joanna Morris of Hitachi Capital Business Finance said: ‘As the worst of the pandemic hopefully begins to fade, and the option of returning to a fixed workplace is put back on the table once again, we might expect to see most taking up this option and returning to ‘normal’.

This research shows that not everyone will be able to use it.

“Like every business decision made by owners, especially in the last 18 month, many factors must first be considered. Sometimes, the bottom line gets a greater weighting than the other factors.

“The only positive thing that came out of this difficult period was the need to be flexible and open-minded, while making changes that will benefit the company over the long-term.

‘We still have significant Covid infections within the school community and a 10 per cent rise of Covid cases in this local area.

‘It is not sensible to relax this measure yet. However, we do appreciate that each school needs to be able to make their own decision based on their school context and it needs to be reviewed regularly.’

At Hanley Castle, Worcestershire’s High School for Girls, they were also told to wear face masks.

Lindsey Cooke, the head teacher, said: ‘I do think this was a very rushed announcement.

‘Our year 11 and year 13 exam groups have missed so much school already; what we do not want to do is to rush into taking masks off and then get another outbreak in those year groups.’ 

Other teachers were happy to see the elimination of school masks. Joseph Sparks, an assistant principal at Stationers’ Crown Woods Academy in Greenwich, London, today called face coverings a ‘barrier to learning’.

He told Sky News: ‘We welcome the change here at the academy and ultimately we will follow the advice and guidance given to us by the DfE. And as you can see from the students in this particular class, they’ve opted not to wear one this morning. 

‘But we’ll leave that choice to them, and for us at the academy, it’s about making them safe and making sure their learning experience is a seamless one and can continue as normal as possible.’

Pressed on why masks can be a ‘barrier to learning’, he explained: ‘I had an example yesterday where I was teaching a class, and I didn’t know who had answered the question.

‘Sometimes it can be a bit of a barrier like that to that social interaction that takes place, and knowing which students might need help. Ultimately we’ve left that choice to the students from this point.’

Mr Sparks added: ‘Our job is to keep the students as safe as possible. We’ve taken lots of measures over the course of the various lockdowns to ensure that our students remain safe.

‘We’ve been really fortunate… our students have continued to come to the academy every day, we’ve had really had attendance.’ 

Britain’s top medics have also insisted that scrapping Covid curbs at such pace ‘risks creating a false sense of security’ with the NHS still under pressure. 

Dr Chaand Nagpaul, chair of the British Medical Association council, said: ‘This decision clearly is not guided by the data. There were 7373 hospitalized patients when Plan B was implemented in December. The latest data this week shows there are 18,9791.’

He warned that ending mandates on mask-wearing would ‘inevitably increase transmission’ and place the most vulnerable at a higher risk.

And Matthew Taylor, chief executive of the NHS Confederation representing health bodies, said now ‘is not the time for complacency about this virus’.

Saffron Corery, deputy chief executive at NHS Providers, stated that trusts reported being expecting their peak this week despite the fact that there had been a decline in hospital admissions due to regional differences.

‘That’s why it’s important that there is recognition that this surge isn’t over, and that the health service is still operating under extremely challenging circumstances,’ she added.    

This is after Covid case numbers dropped across the UK for only the second time since early December according to Office for National Statistics.   

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