Shielding and no face mask in schools - British Liver Trust

British Liver Trust

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Shielding and no face mask in schools

Sufim profile image

I’m on the NHS extremely vulnerable shielding category due liver fibrosis/cirrhosis and combination of few other illnesses. My daughter is attending secondary school year 8. She is being denied to enter her classroom because she chooses to wear a face mask. She has been left outside the class on her own.

As you all know the ‘guidance’ on face mask from Gov to schools is it is not necessary/recommended/avoided but then fines of not wearing face masks in other settings are doubling and now retail staff have to wear face masks, plus the booth were Johnson stands and briefs the nation has 3 pictures one is a face mask.

With all this message including WHOs recommendation that all 12years plus should wear face mask, is it right that a U.K. state school is denying a child from her right to education simply for taking extra precaution?

Both myself and my daughter do not go out without wearing a face mask and she strongly agrees to wear one in school at all times for my safety. Having spoken to the senior managers of the school they are refusing, but are they not digging a hole for them by denying education!

The guidance states for example when it is mandatory to wear a face mask in school like corridors and communal areas but a child refuses to wear a face mask, then no one should be excluded from education for not wearing a face mask. My child wants to wear one without affecting anyone else’s liberty and yet she is being denied education.

Your thoughts will be appreciated.

34 Replies

Utterly rediculous. If your daughter chooses to wear a mask at school she should not be prevented from doing so or denied her education. Afterall aren't Muslims allowed to wear their scarves around their heads in school ?

Sufim profile image
Sufim in reply to Laura009

Exactly, that cloth on the head doesn’t disturb another student or the teacher and yet it’s allowed.

It’s not like she wants to wear a cowboy hat to school which is not needed now but wants to wear a face mask given the pandemic!

The school did say to me if they allowed it, “it will create a domino effect”. So my point is then you know that people do want to wear it but don’t have the courage to speak out. That’s not U.K. is it??

Contact the papers, GMTV and This morning !! 😡

Sufim profile image
Sufim in reply to Laura009

I’ve never done this and feel I ought to start a national debate about this scandalous policy!

Laura009 profile image
Laura009 in reply to Sufim

So what is wrong with the domino effect? Surely it's better that more of them choose to wear them ? As with most of the rules and regs surrounding this pandemic, there is little logic and common sence it's just full of contradiction.

Can your doctor write a letter to your daughters school to highlight your vulnerability and concerns.

Official shielding is currently suspended (ending on 1st August) - were you sent a letter from NHS/government when shielding was in place? (my hubby with cirrhosis, AIH, on steroids and with a non-viable spleen wasn't officially shielded).

I am very surprised that you'd be in the official shielding category with just NAFLD and fibrosis (unless you have something else in the clinically extremely vulnerable category) - yes you'd be in the moderate risk category who had to practise the most strict social distancing but the shielding group tended to be the most severest poorly.

People at high risk (clinically extremely vulnerable)

People at high risk from coronavirus include people who:

have had an organ transplant

are having chemotherapy or antibody treatment for cancer, including immunotherapy

are having an intense course of radiotherapy (radical radiotherapy) for lung cancer

are having targeted cancer treatments that can affect the immune system (such as protein kinase inhibitors or PARP inhibitors)

have blood or bone marrow cancer (such as leukaemia, lymphoma or myeloma)

have had a bone marrow or stem cell transplant in the past 6 months, or are still taking immunosuppressant medicine

have been told by a doctor they have a severe lung condition (such as cystic fibrosis, severe asthma or severe COPD)

have a condition that means they have a very high risk of getting infections (such as SCID or sickle cell)

are taking medicine that makes them much more likely to get infections (such as high doses of steroids or immunosuppressant medicine)

have a serious heart condition and are pregnant

People at moderate risk (clinically vulnerable)

People at moderate risk from coronavirus include people who:

are 70 or older

have a lung condition that's not severe (such as asthma, COPD, emphysema or bronchitis)

have heart disease (such as heart failure)

have diabetes

have chronic kidney disease

have liver disease (such as hepatitis)

have a condition affecting the brain or nerves (such as Parkinson's disease, motor neurone disease, multiple sclerosis or cerebral palsy)

have a condition that means they have a high risk of getting infections

are taking medicine that can affect the immune system (such as low doses of steroids)

are very obese (a BMI of 40 or above)

are pregnant – see advice about pregnancy and coronavirus

It's shocking that your daughters school is taking such a negative stance with your daughter.


Sufim profile image
Sufim in reply to AyrshireK

Hi, thanks yes i do have other conditions too and also have not fully disclosed the severity of my liver condition here. My hospital consultant put me on shielding from 1st April.

I don’t understand since the school has the actual NHS letter so why they can’t make exception for those students with parents on the vulnerable list.

I have had to teach them about the guidance that it’s only that and not mandatory. It’s part of a Trust so they have reviewed it and still saying no.

Now i wonder how long they will keep my daughter out of the classroom because she tells me that she doesn’t want to be the reason to lose me.

I am sorry, I find this very mad that they are refusing them to be in class if they wear a mask. I would speak to your doctor and if needed contact the local Education council and your MP if necessary and ask for their input then if you have no joy email your local paper.

A friend works in a school (UK) and I know all staff have been banned from wearing amsk as per the Head mistress. My friend has not gone back to work but it is very different issue when a mask for goodness sake (in this covid time) is affecting your child's education.

Expose the school and the situation to the press cause they are bullying your child by isolating her and making her feel different because if what she looks like

Laura009 profile image
Laura009 in reply to Julie8

Absolutely.... name and shame the school ..... still fuming 😡

I’d go with julie8 on this, it’s disgraceful. Firstly though I’d get a letter from the school indicating that they are refusing your daughter from classes due to wearing a mask/ face covering. That way they can’t wriggle out of what they've said, as there sure to try and do-if this hit the press. You could also try your local MP as well.

I sincerely hope that this site is not going to become partisan and political. Official government advice was that shielding in its original sense for high-risk individuals was not deemed necessary as from the beginning of August. The school is only following the rules for the mandatory wearing of masks, and, like it or not, masks do not have to be worn in class. Moreover, there is, regardless of health concerns, a basic principle at stake here. Make any exceptions for anyone, for anything, and the floodgates will open. Distancing and the bubble system in place in schools protects both teachers and children. Do not forget, too, that many children under five are at schools and nurseries where mask-wearing would be extremely impractical. Vulnerable children are being home-schooled, so there would be a question as to why a child at school would need to wear a mask in class, resulting probably in your medical circumstances being made public, and possibly your child being bullied. Harsh as it may seem, if members of your bubble go out, they follow the current rules, and if that makes you personally uncomfortable, you have to adjust your lifestyle. My partner, who is clinically vulnerable, has spent several months shielding, but now, following current advice, does venture out. Following the rules, we have family visiting, including grandchildren who are at school and nursery, and even do school runs again. Obviously these activities will have to stop again if the rules change, but currently we are back to what is becoming the new normal. I would suggest that if your medical team considers there us still a necessity for you to shield, they will have advice as to how members of your household should act. Please do not be offended by what I say, as I am simply stating facts, not voicing personal opinions. I do hope you can find a solution which makes you feel more comfortable.

Laura009 profile image
Laura009 in reply to Partner20

Either the rule is for everyone or no one. There are exemptions to wearing face masks throughout .... if you suffer from anxiety and other mental issues you don't have to wear one. However you can have numerous mental issues but can still learn to ride a motorcycle but wearing a full face helmet is compulsory. If you aren't too anxious to ride a motorcycle or wear a full face helmet then there is absolutely no reason to not wear a mask. There is no logic surrounding the rules regarding the wearing of face masks. It should be everyone or no one.

AyrshireK profile image
AyrshireK in reply to Partner20

I agree, there is no current official shielding guidance in force as it ended at end of July. Down to individuals to manage their own risk as has been the case with my hubby from the start of all this. He never got an official shielding letter despite me chasing it . So, we both did as much as we can to stay safe and only in the past month have we ventured out to shops.

Laura009 profile image
Laura009 in reply to AyrshireK

Agreed. l personally don't think a child should be penalised for chosing to wear a mask in school though. She is only doing what she feels is keeping her safe and afterall there are far worse things she could be doing.

L x

Sufim profile image
Sufim in reply to Laura009

It’s heart breaking when a 12 year old says to you she doesn’t want be the reason to lose me! She came out crying, she had watched the whole situation since March and she understands without me having to say much.

Laura009 profile image
Laura009 in reply to Sufim

Amazing bless her heart. You should be very proud of her. Actually the kids seem to be much more covid savvy than a lot of adults. Keep looking after yourselves.

Laura xx

You're lucky you can do this. Staying at home is not an for option for my husband unfortunately, he has to work & works with Uni students at the moment which is not great! He does everything he can, social distancing, hand washing, wearing a mask etc. The battle they have is getting students to actually wear the masks!

I would write to the headteacher and tell him/her about your vulnerable status. It’s disgraceful to isolate a child from classmates - there’s no justification for it.

Sufim profile image
Sufim in reply to Coco513

I am already in discussion with the HeadTeacher and their deputy. They have spoken to the Chief Executive of the Trust and apparently are still saying no though I haven’t received an official letter yet.

Coco513 profile image
Coco513 in reply to Sufim

The Head can’t make a simple decision without consulting the Trustees ? Pathetic! I’d not have much respect for such a wimp. If your daughter wasn’t being ostracised I’d be inclined to say she wears a mask for for the sake of your health, it’s not a fashion accessory and you cannot take the risk of sending her to school if she cannot wear a mask. Unfortunately the last thing you want is her being the middle of the dispute. I

Thanks to all for all the advise. I am yet to receive an official letter from the school.

My family and my circle truly believe and have based it on common sense that face masks work both from preventing the spread and to stopping inhaling in as easily as you would without any physical barrier in front of your mouth. Along with social distance and hand washing all are equally crucial. We get our science from Taiwan, Honk Kong, Japan, South Korea all densely packed countries were before government even announced any measures people generally were wearing face masks. We are bewildered by the death count of just 7 from Covid 19 in Taiwan since their first case to date not to mention how many flights they have each day with all China.

But that’s our view and we want safety for ourselves. So now that UK Gov seems to be learning to value the use face masks by increasing penalty from £100 to £200 and insisting on more areas to wear face masks, then why not allow face masks in schools? Why try to fish with a net that has a massive whale size hole in it, schools!

So be it, but the guidance to face mask in education primarily states it’s not recommended/necessary because they are in bubbles which we view that as laughing in your face, it also states it’s not mandatory but just guidance. It gives an example if it is made mandatory to wear face mask in corridors/communal areas but then a student refuses to wear a face mask then that student must not be excluded from education. If that’s the case then when student wants to wear one then why should that student be excluded from education?

Floodgate, then that means they know people do want to wear one so then give them the option to wear one as you would do in a free country!

Communication problem, but not in France or many other countries who made it law to wear face mask in classrooms.

The bubble is like 30 households mixing Monday to Friday every week and then that year group of upto 100 are mixing during break and lunch. But then mixing of households is a clear no no, but it’s ok if they do it via schools, ie the big whale size hole in your strategy to reduce the spread of the virus.

Sorry I had to write so much but I did so, so you can see what we believe and that we don’t take known risk just for something so cheap to buy and something that dose not hinder on anyone else’s liberty if you chose to wear one.


Sun reporters personal phone number.

Name and shame the school

All children in the UK have a right to education. They also have a right to feel safe.

Would the school compromise and allow her to wear a face shield in the classroom.?This is the route I've had to take myself working in primary school as they do not allow masks either.

At least then she has some form of protection...sorry if this has been resolved I've not read every reply x

Just to add my school rang public health england to clarify and they said I could wear a visor but not a mask x

Sufim profile image
Sufim in reply to tinkabell3

Hi thanks for the suggestion, several recent report in BBC news website and Guardian website including many other sites reported last week that face shields are totally ineffective against aerosol virus like Covid 19. This is from the Guardian Newspaper:

“Plastic face shields are almost totally ineffective at trapping respiratory aerosols, according to modelling in Japan, casting doubt on their effectiveness in preventing the spread of coronavirus.

A simulation using Fugaku, the world’s fastest supercomputer, found that almost 100% of airborne droplets of less than 5 micrometres in size escaped through plastic visors of the kind often used by people working in service industries.“

We always knew it to be useless even if someone was to sneeze at your face shield because aerosol will get in around it. A face mask is physical barrier if worn properly. We should be teaching our students to wear one properly.

There seem to be a huge cultural bias against face mask even if it to do with life and death in a global pandemic. I’ve got two reply’s from legal firms where one is very supportive by high lighting education act 1996 and UN charter on right to education including how given all and every guidance and current face mask legislation encourages to wear one, suggests that the government has done a massive oversight in ‘advising‘ against face mask in classrooms, whilst another firm just merely pointed me to this guidance and saying as if it’s done deal!

I guess I will have to tread my foot carefully and hope it doesn’t take too long to get my daughter back inside the classroom.

My opinion is that it should be a choice to wear one or not until vaccine is out. Nicola Sturgeon literrally stated you can wear one in classrooms if you wish but here in England I’m facing a brick wall.

TT-2018 profile image
TT-2018 in reply to Sufim

I would just like to add that, it is correct that a face mask will not 100% prevent infection but it will massively reduce the spread of the virus, By and large, children have every chance of making a full recovery. But the danger comes from spreading it to their family members, especially the vulnerable and elderly.

Sufim profile image
Sufim in reply to TT-2018

That’s what we have been explaining to the school and yet they seem to go silent! Even whilst all the media were talking about face mask in schools during last week of August hardly did they raise the question about taking it home and infecting parents. They kept talking about no or little harm to children. I know that is the case otherwise what parent would send their children to harms way.

But I thought they wanted to leave that choice to individuals and would not object but it seems the Head Teacher is strongly against or they are incapable of making decisions based on family circumstances, like ex shielding parents.

TT-2018 profile image
TT-2018 in reply to Sufim

Absolutely agree with you, I fail to understand the logic.

Janethaywood profile image
Janethaywood in reply to Sufim

I would say to the school, to put down in writing there is absolutely no way way your daughter not wearing a mask will maximise her risk of contracting the coronavirus, and in turn passing it on to you. Where then with all your underlying health issues could cause your unnecessary suffering and even death. Tell them if they can just pop that assurance in a letter then all wil be ok.

No chance will they do this, and this will give you legal rights to then argue the point. But why won’t you put it in writing? You say there’s no risk don’t you. ? Good luck 🤙

Education Act 1996

“Pupils to be educated in accordance with parents’ wishes.

In exercising or performing all their respective powers and duties under the Education Acts, the Secretary of [F1State and [F2local authorities]] shall have regard to the general principle that pupils are to be educated in accordance with the wishes of their parents, so far as that is compatible with the provision of efficient instruction and training and the avoidance of unreasonable public expenditure.

What does efficient instruction mean??

Janethaywood profile image
Janethaywood in reply to Sufim

I would think it is letting you children learn without causing disruption, I can hardly see a facemask being disruptive 🤣🤣

I'd do all the above starting wth my local MP and education dept. I would try to get it all in writing too, and go to the paper. I would actually keep my child at home until this was resolved. Her life is worth so much more than education (which can also be done to some extent at home.. like maths and reading if nothing else), but these days there is sooo much on the net too) so overall for a few weeks until this is resolved it can't hurt. BTW one way could be your daughter de ides to wear one of those Muslim face covering and puts a mask underneath!

That’s a fab idea, I’d send her in the full. Outfit 😡

I’m shocked kids are not allowed to wear them in schools.

Surely the more people who wear them the better and your daughter can’t be the only one from her school with a vulnerable family member at home.

I hope the school see sense and allow her back in class with her mask on.

I wouldn’t take any notice of comments referring to Muslim head coverings as that is a totally different issue and likely to cause a whole lot more issues.

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