Study behind UK school disguise rules deemed ‘not conclusive’

UK students are now required to use masks in schools as Omicron surges – already though the government admits the evidence for using confront coverings in school to reduce the spread of COVID is “not conclusive.”

The UK government announced this week that students in secondary school, which is the equivalent of middle and high school, will have to use confront coverings to stop the spread of the highly-contagious Omicron variant.

But a review of evidence made public by the UK Department for Education shows the government’s own research has failed to prove masks considerably reduce transmission in schools.  

The research used to justify the new disguise rule compared 123 UK schools that enforced masks to 1,200 schools that didn’t in October 2021 when situations were fueled by the Delta variant.

Schools that enforced masks saw their average absence rate fell by 2.3 percentage points to 3 percent after three weeks, according to the study. The average absences in schools that didn’t use confront masks dropped by 1.7 percentage points to 3.6 percent.

“There is a level of statistical uncertainty around the consequence,” the review said.

The study used to justify the new rule came back with “inconclusive” results.
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The review, which the government acknowledged was not peer-reviewed, noted the figures weren’t statistically meaningful – and indicated more examination was needed.

It also acknowledged that the use of masks could harm learning.

The review referenced a survey from March last year where 80 percent of students said wearing a confront covering made it difficult to communicate, and another survey from April 2021 where a staggering 94 percent of teachers said confront coverings made communication harder.

Oxford University professor of evidence-based medicine Carl Heneghan slammed the study in an interview with TalkRadio, saying it was riddled with problems.

The new rule and the results of the study have produced controversy in the UK.
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He argued the review “is not fit for purpose” and truly showed evidence for not wearing masks.

“What we’re doing is putting the problem and our anxiety onto children,” Heneghan said.

“This is a retrofit of evidence to suit a policy that’s been rushed out. If I was a minister, I would be sending my team back to school to try and understand how to understand a study.”

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