Over the weekend, the World Health Organization and Unicef endorsed the use of masks at schools, in children aged 12 and over, in particular when a 1 metre distance cannot be guaranteed and there is widespread transmission in the area.
One of the first countries to follow WHO’s advice is Scotland. Starting next week, Scottish secondary school pupils will have to wear face masks when attending school, specifically in corridors, communal areas, and school buses.
You might be thinking to yourself: Ok, why secondary onwards and not all students, even at a primary level?
Well, studies have shown that teenagers have a higher chance of transmitting the virus than young children – but less than adults. “We now have evidence that teenagers and secondary school students transmit viruses slightly less than adults, but significantly more than primary school children. So there is an argument for them to be wearing them,” said Susan Michie, a professor of health psychology at University College London.
But apart from the undeniable scientific facts, it also teaches students that it is their duty to themselves and those around them to make active use of masks in a time where they are needed.
Wearing a mask is something you have to do actively, and it reminds you a crisis is happening, said Daniel Read, a professor of behavioural science at Warwick business school. “It gives a sense, I think, of responsibility, not just to students but to everybody that they’re a member of society and they’re doing something for the greater good.”
Concerns have, however, been raised, saying that with both students and teachers wearing masks, it will be harder for them to communicate with each other.
So far, the United Kingdom has not made face masks in schools obligatory – rather, he has allowed each school to make the decision for themselves.
What do you think about all of this? Do you think Malta should follow in Scotland’s footsteps and make masks obligatory in certain areas of the school? Let us know in the comments!