AN MP has accused Bradford Council of trying to keep Shipley in the Bradford local lockdown by the backdoor by telling schools their pupils must wear masks in communal areas despite restrictions being lifted.

Government guidance states secondary schools in a local lockdown area should enforce the rule to keep children safe, meaning masks will be worn in Bradford but not in parts of the district taken out of lockdown earlier this week.

But in a letter given to Shipley MP Philip Davies by an angry parent, it states the council want all schools across the entire district to enforce the rules regardless.

Mr Davies said: “I am outraged that the Council think it is acceptable to muddy the waters and tell schools in my constituency they must follow local lockdown rules despite not being in a local lockdown.

“Our restrictions have been lifted, something I lobbied for, and we should not be lumped in as a collective district when our situation is very different from other parts of the Bradford district.

“Bradford Council claims it wants the local lockdown to be lifted across the whole district, but this proves it actually still wants the whole district to be kept in the local lockdown.

“I am sorry Bradford Council cannot accept that my constituency has been lifted out of the local lockdown against its wishes. If schools want to introduce their own rules that is up to individual headteachers but the council has no right to tell schools it has to go against the national rules. They should trust the schools and teachers to make the right decision for their school.”

A letter from Titus Salt School to parents and carers sets out information from Government and Bradford Council.

The letter states: “Bradford Council’s current guidance to all secondary schools across the Bradford District is to ensure children wear face coverings where social distancing is difficult to maintain, such as corridors and communal areas. The Government guidance is that this rule should apply to secondary schools in areas of England subject to local restrictions, although local restrictions will be relaxed in some areas of Bradford district from September 2, Bradford Council wants all schools to apply the rules as if they are in an area of local restrictions. This is because children and young people travel widely across the district, in and out of areas where the local restrictions do and do not apply.”

Education secretary Gavin Williamson said: “Outside of local lockdown areas face coverings won’t be required in schools, though schools will have the flexibility to introduce measures if they believe it is right in their specific circumstances. I hope these steps will provide parents, pupils and teachers with further reassurance.”

In response to Mr Davies' concernsCoun Susan Hinchcliffe, Leader of Bradford Council, said: “Many countries around the world are advocating wearing face coverings in confined areas. Nations, more successful than ours at managing the pandemic, are encouraging their children to wear face coverings in communal areas as a matter of course.

"Many schools across the country regardless of local restrictions are recommending children and staff wear face coverings in crowded corridors. This isn’t a political battleground and I’m sorry that this MP has made it such.

"The recommendation is just plain common sense for all schools. Why wouldn’t young people, their parents and school staff want to protect themselves, their loved ones and fellow citizens in this way?

"We all need to get into the habit of wearing face coverings. We support getting children back to school and this is another way of providing added reassurance for families and staff.”