A SCHOOL has U-turned on preventing staff from wearing protective equipment in classrooms - now stating they can wear visors.

Bournes Green Junior School, in Ladram Road, Southend, initially told staff they would be able to take unpaid leave if they didn’t feel comfortable without a mask.

It followed several members of staff writing to headteacher James Lupton with Covid fears.

But since being contacted by the Echo, the school has U-turned and told staff they can wear visors in classrooms.

Guidance from the Department for Education states masks should be worn by people moving around the school, but not worn in classrooms.

The government say the use of masks can have a “negative impact” on education.

But Ben Stickley, chief operating officer for the Southend East Community Academy Trust that runs the school, said staff were told they could now wear visors from yesterday.

He said: “We have advised staff that they will be permitted, if they choose, to wear visors in the classroom. We will support them if they choose to do this and will provide visors.

“We have assessed this to be an appropriate compromise to following the guidance - clear visors are less restrictive of communication and children can still see staff talking - whilst offering a further degree of protection.”

Mr Stickley said the situation would be reviewed and that the trust was balancing protection of staff and pupils and keeping to government guidance to protect education.

He added: “We value our staff massively and would be lost without them.

“However we are here to educate and must continue to do so.”

Prior to the U-turn, a school statement said: “Due to the fact circumstances are far from normal we have adapted our interpretation of HR policies to offer members of staff who are not comfortable, despite individual risk assessments, school risk assessments and mitigation and extra cleaning and ventilation, the opportunity to take unpaid leave if they do not wish to come into work, with their jobs held open for them.”