Head teachers have complained about a lack of clarity over the rules on whether teachers or pupils can wear face masks in schools in England.
They want to know if they can override the official guidance which rejects the use of face coverings in school.
“The guidance is silent on what schools should do if staff or pupils want to wear face coverings,” says Geoff Barton of the ASCL head teachers’ union.
A Downing Street spokesman ruled out any review on masks in school.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said on Monday she was acting in response to new guidance from the World Health Organization.
But Mr Barton said it remained unclear whether schools in England could have flexibility to allow masks if they were requested as a safety measure by teachers or pupils’ parents or where they might be seen as a “useful additional measure”.
Jon Richards of Unison, representing support staff in schools, said masks were worn in other workplaces and it was “vital” that school staff should be allowed to wear them.
Medical advisers at the weekend also highlighted the risk of teachers spreading the virus to each other – rather than from pupil to pupil.
The government’s guidance, issued in early July, says Public Health England does not recommend using face coverings in school.
As pupils would be in their own separate “bubbles” there is no need for masks, says the guidance, which warned that “misuse” of face coverings could “inadvertently increase the risk of transmission”.
On Monday, a Downing Street spokesman said masks could get in the way of communication between teachers and pupils.
Since the government guidance was published on returning safely to school on 2 July, the use of masks has become more widespread, for example, becoming compulsory in shops.
ASCL said they had asked for further guidance on wearing masks more than a month ago.
“It would be helpful if the government could provide more advice on these complex issues but that has not been forthcoming,” said Mr Barton.