Buckingham MP calls for end to compulsory mask wearing in school
Wearing masks in class is 'intolerable' for some children, says Greg Smith
Buckingham's MP has questioned whether all children in secondary schools need to wear masks in classrooms.
Greg Smith said having to wear a face covering for such a long time, including bus journeys for some, is "intolerable".
Mr Smith raised the issue in a debate led by the Education Secretary, Nadhim Zahawi, about the return to school for the spring term last week.
Mr Smith said: "I do share the concerns of some other honourable members who have spoken about the mask mandate, which I do feel will cause harm to all children in terms of concentration."
Afterwards, Mr Smith said: "First and foremost, it is good news that the government is absolutely committed to keeping schools fully open for face-to-face learning.
"That is the best thing for all children, both in terms of their education and mental health.
"Too much harm was done to our young people during the various lockdowns in 2020 and 2021 and it is vitally important schools are never shut down again.
"However, I am very sceptical of the new mask mandate, for all children in Year 7 and above to wear masks in the classroom.
"For some children who travel to school by bus and stay for after-school clubs, that could be up to 10 hours a day in a face covering, with only minimal respite to eat and drink.
"That is not good for any child, especially when it comes to concentrating in class and being able to interact with their peers.
"However, for many, the impact is simply intolerable.
"For example, one teacher in the constituency wrote to me about three partially deaf children he teaches, who are dependent on lip reading for their interactions with others.
"I put this to Nadhim Zahawi and will continue to push for mask wearing in schools to be dropped."