TWYNHAM School have announced that face masks will no longer be a mandatory obligation in classrooms at the school.

The school in Christchurch made it compulsory for students to wear face masks while in the classroom as well as in enclosed areas, such as corridors and communal areas, when its 1,800 pupils returned to school on Monday September 7.

However, following consultations with parents and student focus group, the school will remove the obligatory requirement and adopt a voluntary approach in its place as of Monday September 21.

In a letter sent to parents of children at the school today, Jy Taylor said: “What has become clear is that there has been overwhelming support for the decision we made around the requirement to wear face masks in the weeks following our return.

“Our intention in implementing this approach was to reduce the risk of transmission as 1,800 students from across the conurbation were integrated into year group specific ‘bubbles’.

“Following careful consideration of all views, we would now like to remove the mandatory requirements to wear face masks by students in lessons and adopt a voluntary approach in its place from Monday September 21.

“In doing so I would like to make it very clear that every student and member of staff will continue to have the full support of the school should they choose to wear a face mask in lessons.”

During this period, the school have reported no positive cases among its student community and not needed to shut down any of their ‘bubbles’.

What cannot be ignored is that a positive case will have a disruptive impact on the community

Mr Taylor added: “With cases of coronavirus increasing throughout the country, and indeed the locality, we are still firmly of the view that the wearing of face masks will reduce the risk of transmission when in enclosed spaces for a length of time and social distancing cannot be maintained.

“However Public Health Dorset have advised us that identified contacts will still be required to isolate even if they have been wearing a face mask and therefore the risk of a ‘bubble’ being sent home remains, whether or not a face mask is worn.

“What cannot be ignored is that a positive case will have a disruptive impact on the community. In addition to the health risks associated with the virus, a positive case would lead to isolation for all household members, meaning that parents may need to take further time off of work and staff may be absent from lessons.

Bournemouth Echo:

“It is therefore imperative that we do all that we can to reduce the risk of transmission and is why, I am sure, so many of our students and staff will continue to wear face masks in the classroom given the option.

Students who have not been given exemption will be asked to continue to bring a face mask in a sealable plastic bag with them to school every day.

There may also be occasions when pupils are asked to wear a face mask in lessons, when member of staff are required to work in close proximity to students to do regular one to one work, although the school says that such lessons would be “rare occasions”.