Following the recent Welsh Government announcement and associated media coverage, the thirteen members of ColegauCymru, have agreed that where college risk assessments dictate their need, they will introduce the mandatory use of face coverings in communal areas of FE colleges.
Following careful consideration, and with the appropriate safeguards in place, college leaders believe that a clear and unequivocal decision is the best possible way forward and removes any doubt in the minds of learners and staff alike. The primary concern for all colleges, as always, is to ensure the health, safety and wellbeing of all as they return to college next week.
Iestyn Davies CEO of ColegauCymru, the body representing the colleges said,
“We appreciate that there are commonly acknowledged reasons not to use face masks or other face coverings, such as health concerns. Colleges will apply a reasonable and proportionate response and will take a balanced approach to enforcement. However, the decision to require their use provides clarity for staff and learners."
With teaching and learning taking place across a wide range of settings, often where specific personal protection equipment is already required to meet industry standards, colleges will provide advice and assistance to staff and learners on the selection and use of an appropriate face covering alongside other measures they are taking to reduce risk.
Specific measures and control mechanisms will also be put in place for activities taking place outside of FE managed premises.
Iestyn Davies concluded,
“The ambiguity surrounding the use of face coverings has and continues to cause confusion. The FE sector has come together to remove uncertainty and provide clarity in order to reassure learners, parents or carers and their staff alike.”
College leadership teams will keep their individual responses under review as the term unfolds.