Dear (Head Teacher)
This is to notify you that [****] will not be wearing a mask or face covering in lessons, as per the new government recommendations.[i]
I appreciate that the more stringent measures have been added for public and teacher confidence in opening schools.[ii] I support sensible measures that aim to reduce transmission in schools, but all measures need to be proportionate and not implemented at any cost to children. I will continue to promote handwashing and will keep [****] at home if they show any symptoms of COVID-19. Prolonged wearing of face coverings carries significant risks to the physical and mental health of children, yet I am unaware of any published risk assessment of the impact of prolonged wearing of face-coverings on children’s health.
I urge you to read an Open Letter (link below) that the UK Medical Freedom Alliance (UKMFA), sent to Government Ministers on 18 February 2021, regarding the current face covering mandates.[iii] They request an urgent and permanent revoking of all mandates for children under 18 years. They present and reference comprehensive scientific evidence showing that face masks cause serious harm in children, and the absence of evidence that they prevent transmission of the virus, especially in healthy, asymptomatic people.
Of particular note is a recent published German study[iv] of over 25,000 children – the only published study on the impact of mask-wearing in school on children’s health – whose findings were horrifying. Impairments to children, caused by wearing face masks, were reported by 68% of the parents. This included irritability (60%), headache (53%), difficulty concentrating (50%), less happiness (49%), reluctance to go to school/kindergarten (44%), malaise (42%) impaired learning (38%) and drowsiness or fatigue (37%). from prolonged mask wearing. Furthermore, the charity Mind[v] and Disability UK[vi] have both detailed the negative experiences of face coverings on mental health – these articles are worth reading to fully understand the possible outcomes this policy may have on some young people, who are already struggling with an increase in mental health issues.
The Department of Education[vii] finds against wearing face coverings, “On the basis of current evidence…Face coverings can have a negative impact on learning and teaching and so their use in the classroom should be avoided” and has not presented further evidence to suggest this assessment has changed. The Government also acknowledge the negative impact that face coverings can have the face covering mandates include a long list of exemptions including where ‘putting on, wearing or removing a face covering will cause you severe distress’.[viii]
The Government recently confirmed that children will not be openly discriminated against or denied education for not wearing a face covering in the classroom, and that they are not mandated but voluntary.[ix] However, I am concerned that undue pressure from peers and teachers could be detrimental to the mental health and access to learning of [****]. I trust that the school will take active steps to support those students who opt out of mask wearing and to create a culture which discourages peer pressure or ridicule.
I look forward to hearing from you, regarding how the school will manage the rollout of the new recommendations, considering the points I have raised above.