LABOUR has humiliatingly slapped down union demands to put kids in face masks when schools return in September.
Teachers union NASUWT has called for teens and teachers to be told to cover up when classes return.
But Labour’s education chief Kate Green hit out at the call, saying it would harm kids’ learning.
Children under the age of 11 do not have to wear masks under Government advice.
Ms Green said she understood some parents and teachers would be “anxious” at the prospect of reopening schools.
But she added: “It is really important that people feel safe in school, but it is really important that children’s learning is supported.
“And of course masks do get in the way of some of the communication between teachers and their students.
“Our position is, we have to follow the best scientific advice.”Experts have warned that putting teachers and youngsters in masks will make it far harder to teach.
Boris Johnson has promised to get all kids back to class full time for the autumn term after unions blocked his bid to get them back to class earlier.
But hardline unions are now demanding teachers and kids wear masks in class, like they do in shops and on trains.
NASUWT boss Patrick Roach has previously said the advice for schools is now “out of step”.
He said there is a “strong argument that face masks should also be made compulsory for children when they return to secondary schools in September”.
But Ms Green said health bosses have already put in a slew of extra protections to make sure kids are safe in school.
She told Sky News: “I can understand that people are anxious. Some parents are anxious, I can understand that teaching and support staff will be anxious about their safety too.
“I would just say that there is scientific advice about what should happen in school, and extra measures that are being taken in school to keep people safe.”
Public health advice says masks and other PPE kit is not necessary in most schools.
Instead, schools have been ordered to put youngsters in ‘protective bubbles’ to keep them safe from Covid.
In primary schools, kids will be in a bubble with their classmates, with staggered lunches, breaks and drop off times to stop them mixing with other groups.
In secondary schools, entire year groups will be put into bubbles, while extra cleaning will be carried out to protect students.
Interactive map shows excess deaths in your area right through corona pandemic
Schools will be placed into local lockdowns if they have Covid outbreaks, and all pupils and teachers tested.
Education Secretary Gavin Williamson has ruled out another national schools shutdown amid alarm at the devastating damage it has done to kids’ education and prospects.