backlash

Education secretary defends school face masks U-turn after Tory backlash



a little boy looking at the camera: Photograph: Owen Humphreys/PA


© Provided by The Guardian
Photograph: Owen Humphreys/PA

The UK education secretary, Gavin Williamson, has defended the government’s U-turn on pupils in England wearing face masks in schools after coming under fire from Conservative MPs over the move.

Just hours after the cabinet minister Alok Sharma said on Tuesday morning there were no plans to review the policy amid pressure from headteachers, the government performed an about-turn and said pupils would no longer be advised against using face masks in secondary schools.

Related: From face masks to Covid testing: 11 times the UK government has U-turned

Instead, in places with high levels of Covid-19, such as lockdown areas including Greater Manchester, children in year 7 and above are now being advised to wear face coverings in school corridors where social distancing is more difficult.

The move – which came after Scotland confirmed secondary pupils must wear masks in communal areas,

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‘He better pick a Black woman’: Biden faces Whitmer backlash

Anticipation has been growing for weeks that Joe Biden will make history by choosing the first Black woman as a running mate on a major party’s presidential ticket.

But after news broke over the weekend that Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, a white woman, had flown to meet with Biden to discuss the vice presidency, frustration and disappointment boiled over among Black female Democrats — including some in her own state.

“He better pick a black woman. If he picks Gretchen, he’ll lose Michigan,” said Virgie Rollins, chair of the Democratic National Committee Black Caucus, who hosted Biden at her home before his Michigan primary win this spring.

“There are a lot of Black people mad at her [Whitmer] in this state,” Rollins told POLITICO, citing her record on Flint’s lead water crisis and education policy, particularly in Detroit.

As Biden prepares to announce his choice this week, Black women activists

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Trump’s campaign to open schools provokes mounting backlash even from GOP

President Donald Trump has been on a rampage against public schools and colleges all week, threatening to use the power of the federal government to strong-arm officials into reopening classrooms.

But his effort is now creating a backlash: An overwhelming alignment of state and even Republican-aligned organizations oppose the rush to reopen schools. The nation’s leading pediatricians, Republican state school chiefs, Christian colleges and even the U.S. Chamber of Commerce have all challenged parts of Trump’s pressure campaign.

“Threats are not helpful,” Joy Hofmeister, the Republican state superintendent of public instruction in Oklahoma, told POLITICO on Friday. “We do not need to be schooled on why it’s important to reopen.”

Both Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos have issued federal funding threats to schools that don’t fully reopen. On Friday, Trump went a step further in blasting online learning — which many school districts and colleges are planning to use

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