Nadim Zahavi has suggested that children may be asked to wear Covid face masks in classrooms again if the virus cases increase in winter.
The education secretary said the measure is part of contingency plans being drawn up by his department to continue lessons in the coming months.
His remarks came after data published over the weekend suggested that one in 20 middle-aged children in England was infected with the virus last week.
The COVID rate, coming from Office for National Statistics data, was the highest among any age group since the pandemic hit in March 2020.
Children are classified as very low risk and the chance of them becoming seriously ill is extremely rare.
Speaking at a Conservative Party fringe event organized by the centre-right think tank Policy Exchange on Sunday, Mr Zahavi said his priority is to ensure that children do not miss out on important lessons.
He added: “On face masks, you know we have contingency plans in the department.
“My very strong focus should be on protecting education if we see more disruption.”
He continued: “We have contingency plans in place to make sure learning stays open because, really, what they told us was they really wanted to come back to school with their classmates, in front of the teacher’s learning, And want to let those creative juices flow.”
Face covers and masks were recommended in schools after students returned to class in March. But they were scrapped on 17 May as COVID restrictions began to be eased as part of the UK’s roadmap to lockdown.
Critics of children wearing masks in schools said they hindered learning by hindering communication. However, teachers warned that it was difficult to reconcile the decision to cover the face with evidence of safety.
Several studies have shown that masks do not provide complete protection against the virus, but they do help limit its spread.
Credit: www.independent.co.uk /