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Covid: Evidence on face masks in schools 'inconclusive'

- BBC NEWS - STAFF - JAN 6, 2022 -

Last term, England's secondary pupils only had to wear masks in school corridors

The government admits the evidence for using masks in schools to reduce spread of Covid is "not conclusive".

The uncertainty is acknowledged in a review used by ministers in England to make their decision to introduce face coverings in classrooms.

The government's own study in the autumn did not provide proof of a statistically significant impact.

The evidence review says other studies have provided mixed results, but taken together suggest they may help.

And the move was backed by the UK Health Security Agency.

The review has only just been published following the announcement on Monday about the return of face coverings in classrooms.

It includes the results of a study in 123 schools in England which used masks and compared that to others that did not during the Delta wave of Covid. The UK is currently experiencing the spread of an even more infectious variant - Omicron - but there is not enough data yet on this one and masks.

Schools where face coverings were used in October 2021 saw a reduction two to three weeks later in Covid absences from 5.3% to 3% - a drop of 2.3 percentage points.


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