Sydney girls’ school Wenona has introduced the “no mask, no play” policy requiring students to wear face masks and undergo temperature checks. Parents have also been banned from the school’s North Sydney campus.
Wenona School principal Dr. Briony Scott informed parents of the new rule last Friday, also explaining that student’s would have a staggered return to school, as per advice from the state government.
In her letter, Dr. Scott admitted that the new policy would feel “awkward” but is vital in protecting students from COVID-19.
“All students must have a mask — if there is no mask, there is no class. If there is no mask, there is no play,” she wrote.
“I appreciate the limitations of masks (handmade or otherwise) but they are a clear reminder to the students about the need to keep distance, and to protect themselves. This will feel awkward to start with, and that’s OK.”
She added, “We are not a hospital and will not be able to care for sick people”.
When asked by a parent whether students would be supplied with a mask, she acknowledged that she had considered the idea, but it’s “hard to guarantee” due to limited stocking in bulk.
“We have ordered some for staff, as they appear to be the most vulnerable,” she explained before suggesting students use fabric ones for now.
Federal education minister Dan Tehan has criticised the move, stating that there is no need for children to wear masks at school.
“We have been following the advice of the medical expert panel and they have said there is no rationale for this,” Mr Tehan told the Daily Telegraph. “They have been very clear in their advice… that we do not need either teachers or students wearing masks.”
Term 2 for the private girls school started today with students continuing online learning. They will begin a staggered return to campus from May 4, with primary school students coming in once a week, and years 7 to 10 once a fortnight. Years 11 and 12 students will initially come in one day a week before coming in twice from May 18.