No masks in secondary schools
Masking is not normal and should not be normalised
Saturday 8th August 2020
Dear Professor Whitty & Professor Vallance,
I am writing to you both urgently on behalf of an extremely concerned group of parents, grandparents and teachers, following the announcement today that the Irish government have recommended face masks for both teachers and pupils returning to secondary schools next week.
We are desperately hoping no similar recommendation will be made here. Many parents are reporting to us that they would withdraw their children from school rather than have them attending in masks.
We are aware of Dr Jenny Harris saying only a few weeks ago that masks in children could likely do more harm than good if worn for prolonged periods and that is before even looking at the mental health impact. Sir Patrick, you have also advised that supermarket staff are not required to wear masks all day and PHE have warned of dangers that this may even increase transmission in a school setting.
There is clearly pressure from teachers unions, exploiting parental fear. Even Anne Longfield was quoted yesterday saying that masks shouldn’t be ruled out if it was needed to give people confidence to go back. But it would be totally unethical to impose something potentially harmful on children, themselves not at risk of serious disease from COVID-19, purely for the sake of allaying adult fears.
Can you both guarantee that before such a move were adopted you would publish the full risk-benefit analysis and reasoning leading to such a change of advice.
I have copied the prime minister into this email to ensure he is equally aware of our concerns following a very productive meeting between members of the UsforThem team and the No 10 office.
Dr Rosamond Jones MD FRCPCH
Retired paediatrician and grandparent
On behalf of #UsforThem