When do I not have to wear a face mask?

You don’t have to wear a face covering in a public indoor place:

  • If you are under the age of 13
  • If you are a member of staff working behind a partition, or if you are in an area not open to the public and can maintain a 2metre social distance from your colleagues
  • If you have a reasonable excuse not to

You do not have to wear a face covering on passenger transport or in a passenger transport station:

  • If you are still at primary school
  • If you are a member of staff and are behind a protective screen

Do I have to wear a mask on the school bus/transport?

Yes, if you are a post-primary student, it is mandatory to wear a face covering on public transport and school transport unless you have a reasonable excuse not to.

Face coverings on school transport

This includes on:

  • Education Authority buses
  • Translink dedicated school buses
  • Private coaches and taxis used to travel to school
  • Public trains, buses and ferries

You will only be exempt from wearing a mask if you have a reasonable excuse for not wearing one. For example, if you have a physical or mental impairment or disability or it causes you severe stress.

You can find out further information on reasonable excuses here.

Does my teacher have to wear a mask in school?

Yes, teachers and other school staff should wear a mask in school. They must wear a mask outside of classrooms, in situations where they cannot keep 2m distance and are interacting face-to-face with other adults and/or children and young people.

Do I have to wear a mask in post-primary school?

Yes, it is strongly recommended for post-primary students to wear face coverings in school. You should wear a mask in classrooms and when moving about the school in corridors and confined communal areas (including toilets) where it is hard to maintain social distancing.

The current Coronavirus Guidance for Schools and Educational Settings in Northern Ireland states that: “It is strongly recommended that post-primary pupils wear a face covering at all times when inside school buildings, including classrooms, corridors and confined communal spaces such as toilet areas. However, for subjects where social distancing is possible, such as drama in a large hall, face coverings are no longer required.”

Can I go to a Single-Sex School?

There is nothing to prevent a single-sex school from accepting a transgender pupil. A pupil who has transitioned or wants to transition should be allowed to continue to attend a single-sex school. Every situation will, however, be dealt with on a case by case basis but according to the Education Authority (EA), if a policy only admits pupils based on their sex recorded at birth this would disadvantage transgender pupils and may be potentially open to challenge.

If you need information or advice on this, speak to a legal advisor confidentially on 0808 8085678, email ree@childrenslawcentre.org or online at REE Live Chat.