Education minister for England Nick Gibb has said parents can be "reassured" that the safety measures in place in schools are "very effective".
"What the chief medical officers are saying now is that the risk of not being in school outweigh the very small risk of children being in school, particularly given all the control measures, the hygiene, the cleaning that's taking place in our schools," he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.
Over the weekend, the World Health Organization issued guidance saying children over the age of 12 should wear masks, in line with recommended practice for adults in their country or area.
The guidance came as more schools in Scotland advised pupils and staff to wear face coverings, with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon saying advice on masks could change for secondary school students in the "near future".
Mr Gibb said: "What the current advice is, is that if a school puts in place the measures that are in the guidance... then masks are not necessary for staff or pupils."
And he stressed that closing schools will be "the last resort in terms of tackling a local increase in the infection rate".
"We will take swift action, advised by the local health protection teams when we identify a rise in the infection rate in local areas around the country. That's the only way we can sort of suffocate this virus," he said.