Coronavirus: Face masks compulsory at Holmes Chapel school

Holmes Chapel Comprehensive School
Image caption Students and staff at Holmes Chapel Comprehensive School must wear face masks from September

A school in Cheshire has made face masks compulsory for staff and students despite government advice against this.

Holmes Chapel Comprehensive School is believed to be one of the first to make face coverings part of the school uniform when it reopens in September.

This is despite government guidelines that wearing face masks "in educational settings is not recommended".

The "precautionary" step is "likely to make our school safer than if we don't wear them", said its head teacher.

"I think most of our community and our children will understand why we've taken this temporary measure and I think most will understand this is about the safety of our community and the care of our children," said head teacher Nigel Bielby.

"When the children are not in those lessons and they're outside then they can take that face covering off," he added.

Image caption Head teacher Nigel Bielby said the decision was made for "the safety of our community"

While he confirmed he had received a range of responses with some people "very aggrieved about the situation", he said there had been "an awful lot of people who have said thanks very much for taking a position on this one".

Wearing a face covering is now compulsory in shops, supermarkets and while ordering takeaways in England.

But schools should not require staff and pupils to wear face coverings, the government has said.

In the school's newsletter, parents were informed of new measures being introduced as well as information on the navy blue, reusable face masks, which form part of the school uniform at £3 each.

One parent told the BBC's North West Tonight that she welcomed the news, adding "I'm in nursing so I'm more than happy about it".

Another parent said that while "wearing them for a long period of time will be quite challenging", she was in favour of the plans if "it protects the children".

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