Masks outdoors are obligatory in the Balearics for schoolchildren from the age of six. | Vicent Jordi Torres


There are so far some 4,000 signatures to a petition calling on the Balearic government to change its rules regarding the wearing of masks by schoolchildren. Specifically, the petition wants there to be an end to the requirement to wear masks in playgrounds, during outdoor physical education classes and when on school trips.

Those behind the petition say that the World Health Organization (WHO) has advised that masks are not necessary in these situations. Certain regions of Spain, e.g. Catalonia, have dropped the requirement.

"As the WHO advises against masks for children doing physical activity and when in playgrounds and as scientific groups say that there are practically no infections outdoors, what evidence is there to impose them in the Balearics?"

Pupils aged six must wear masks for "almost ten hours a day, without any monitoring or evaluation of the impact by the education and health ministries". The WHO and Unicef say there should be such evaluation, and the two bodies also point out that the use of the mask should be "proportional to the age of the child". In the Balearics, the same number of hours applies to six-year-olds as it does to ages ten and 17.

In countries with a lower vaccination rate than the Balearics, such as Denmark, Ireland, Holland, Belgium, Switzerland, Norway and Sweden, children go to school without masks, and the data show that "there is no higher transmission". It is therefore "inconsistent" that, with 80% of the target population vaccinated, students cannot remove their masks during outdoor activities at school.