A HEADMASTER has insisted all pupils must wear face visors when they return to class — after nearly a third of parents threatened to keep them away.
Primary head Warren Harrison confirmed another factor was that five members of staff resigned at the start of summer, blaming Covid-19.
He also revealed that 27 per cent of staff were found to have underlying health issues, so could not teach children of key workers early on in lockdown.
Mr Harrison, head of The Premier Academy’s Eaton Mill Primary School in Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, for 18 years, sent a newsletter to parents on its new safety measures.
He told them that all children would be required to wear surgical masks when being dropped off and picked up.
The letter stated that all staff, children, parents, carers and visitors must don a mask on site or they would be refused access.
Children will then take off the masks and switch them for a named face visor, provided by the school, once in their classrooms.
Masks and shields may be taken off for eating and during the class bubble’s daily walks.
These rules will be applied to all pupils from Year 1 (aged five) upwards when they return on September 8.
Mr Harrison said today that he hoped the safety measures would encourage all pupils and staff to return — for the sake of their mental and social wellbeing.
He said: ‘The school has now spent £30,000 on preventative equipment for pupils.
‘These includes PPE and thermal scanners, as well as everything they will need in classrooms throughout the day — face visors, water bottles, pencil cases.
‘Nothing will need to be brought into school with them, and nothing will be taken home. It is all provided in classrooms.
‘That’s a hell of an expenditure on our part — but it’s all about minimising risk.
‘What is the problem with putting in an added layer of protection? You wouldn’t put your child on a bicycle without putting a helmet on their head.
‘And it’s also about making sure the staff with underlying health issues feel comfortable coming back in to school.
‘Teachers will be wearing face visors in classrooms, too. I’m hoping that all the staff will come back in.
‘We know the importance of getting kids back into school.
‘What we don’t want is to be one of those schools, like we’re seeing in Berlin at the moment, that re-open — and then have to send kids home again because of a surge in cases.’
Mr Harrison said he had not had a single email of complaint from parents over the visors policy.
He has not yet had feedback from the 30 per cent of parents who did not want to send their children back to school but would contact them this week.
Mr Harrison said: ‘I think children are pretty resilient characters.
‘One parent even told me that her children were disappointed they wouldn’t be wearing face masks in school.’
And he added that, while The Premier Academy was believed to be one of the first primary schools in England to implement the face visor rule, he was sure others would soon follow.
He explained: ‘I’ve had so many other schools, in England and even abroad, getting in touch with me, asking how we went about finding and buying our preventative equipment.
‘I wouldn’t be surprised if other primary schools did the same.
‘I have a daughter who is at a secondary school in Milton Keynes, with 2,000 other pupils.
‘She has to get two buses to school, so obviously she’ll be wearing her mask on the buses — but then when she gets to school she can take it off. It seems mad.’
He added: ‘Primarily I think we have everybody on the same page, that we all want children back in school — but the school is only really any use if it’s got children in it, if it’s got staff in it.’