CUMBRIA’s public health director has backed the Government’s decision to reverse its guidance on wearing face masks in schools.

The county’s public health chief also joined community leaders this week in warning against a sense of ‘complacency’ that could creep in as school-children return to classrooms, while adults and teens go back to workplaces.

The under-fire Education Secretary has come under fresh scrutiny for his department’s latest U-turn this week. But - in south Cumbria, at least - his decision has been met with support among education and health leaders.

Cumbria’s public health director Colin Cox said: “It was announced that children in year seven and above in lockdown areas should wear face coverings in communal school spaces.

“Outside of lockdown areas, face coverings will not be required in schools.

“But schools have the flexibility to introduce measures if they believe it is right in their specific circumstances.”

And he added: “It’s important to note that so far this doesn’t apply to Cumbria.

“Cumbria is not in a situation that would require a local lockdown yet - and hopefully it won’t ever get to that stage.

“At the moment it is still a case of making sure social distancing rules are adhered to, and that levels remain low as a consequence.”

Councillors at both the district and county level have also backed Number 10’s latest U-turn.

Asked about the Government climbdown, Mr Cox said: “I think it was the right decision to reverse the guidance on this - and I wouldn’t be surprised if it gets extended.”