York pupils will need face masks when they go into school next week

Pupils wearing face masks in a corridor at St Columba's High School, Gourock, Scotland. Photograph: Jane Barlow / PA Wire

Pupils will be asked to wear face masks on the school bus and in corridors in York secondary schools when they return to class next week.

But they will not need to wear a face covering in classrooms during lessons.

York’s director of public health is encouraging secondary school staff and students to wear masks in corridors and communal areas, a meeting heard, despite it not being part of national guidance.

“We do feel that the evidence recently released shows it is an extra precaution,” Maxine Squire from City of York Council’s education team said.

“There is no need to wear them in a classroom, in fact it would be very uncomfortable and would interfere with learning.”

She said this is because desks will be socially distanced and facing forwards – reducing contact between pupils.

Students will also be asked to wear face masks and follow social distancing advice on buses.

No travel bubbles

The back to school Q&A with York council leaders

Bus company First will be running more services to and from Joseph Rowntree School and Huntington School.

But the meeting heard pupils will not be asked to travel to and from school in ‘bubbles’.

Ms Squire said: “We have taken the decision for the secondary schools that they won’t be transported in year group bubbles.

“There are all coming from the same village or area. The buses are cleaned between trips.”