Face coverings claim in CYC letter to parents/carers

Glynn Magheramorne made this Freedom of Information request to City of York Council

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Response to this request is long overdue. By law, under all circumstances, City of York Council should have responded by now (details). You can complain by requesting an internal review.

Glynn Magheramorne

Dear City of York Council,

In a letter to Parents/Carers of school children in York, dated 2 September 2020, signed by Amanda Hatton and Sharon Stolz, the following claim is made:

"The government has subsequently changed their guidance and are now recommending that adults and children wear face coverings in communal spaces in secondary schools and higher education settings."

This claim is categorically untrue; the Government guidance ( https://www.gov.uk/government/publicatio... ) actually states:

"The government is not recommending universal use of face coverings in all schools. Schools that teach children in years 7 and above and which are not under specific local restriction measures will have the discretion to require face coverings for pupils, staff and visitors in areas outside the classroom where social distancing cannot easily be maintained, such "corridors and communal areas..."

The matter was clarified on 1 September, the day before your letter, by Gavin Williamson in the House of Commons ( https://hansard.parliament.uk/commons/20... ):

"....We do not believe it is necessary for youngsters or people at school to wear a face mask, except where we have made it mandatory in local lockdown areas. The chief medical officer and the deputy chief medical officer have been consistent in their approach—that this is not something needed in every school right across the country. Where people are not in local lockdown areas, there is no need to wear a face mask..."

York is not in such an area; indeed you admit in the letter that "in York we do not currently have high numbers of cases of Covid-19 and little evidence of widespread transmission of coronavirus"

Your letter is at best misleading. The following is therefore requested as a matter of urgency:

1) A public apology and re-issuing of the letter;
2) An explanation as to how this incorrect information appeared in the letter;
3) Full disclosure of any relevant communications regarding the wearing of face coverings in schools, between any relevant individuals, including (but not limited to) Amanda Hatton and Sharon Stolz.

Yours faithfully,

Glynn Magheramorne

foi@york.gov.uk, City of York Council

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Information Commissioner's Office
Wycliffe House Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire
SK9 5AF
Tel: 0303 123 1113 (local rate) or 01625 545 745 if you prefer to use a national rate number
Fax: 01625 524 510
Or email: [email address]<mailto:[email address]> (please include your telephone number in your email)

Regards
Information governance, complaints and feedback team

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Glynn Magheramorne

Dear City of York Council,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of City of York Council's handling of my FOI request 'Face coverings claim in CYC letter to parents/carers'.

What has CYC got to hide by not answering this request?

CYC must admit that they mislead parents/schools and they must retract their false statements without delay.

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/f...

Yours faithfully,

Glynn Magheramorne

foi@york.gov.uk, City of York Council

Thank you for your email. Please note this is an automatically generated receipt to let you know we have received your email.

As we are all facing unprecedented challenges during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, please be aware that we may take longer to respond to your request.

For information:
* The timescale for responding to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and Environmental Information Regulation (EIR) requests is up to 20 working days. We will contact you promptly if we need you to clarify your request or an extension to complete a public interest test.

* The timescale for responding to requests for a review, for FOIA or EIR responses, is up to 20 working days. You are also able to contact the Information Commissioner, contact details below:

* The timescale for responding to your rights in relation to personal data eg: subject access to records (SAR) request, is up to 1 month. We will contact you promptly if we require further information from you, or an extension.

* The timescale for responding to requests for a review, of responses to your rights regarding personal data, is up to 1 month. You are also able to contact the Information Commissioner, contact details below:

Information Commissioner's Office
Wycliffe House Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire
SK9 5AF
Tel: 0303 123 1113 (local rate) or 01625 545 745 if you prefer to use a national rate number
Fax: 01625 524 510
Or email: [email address]<mailto:[email address]> (please include your telephone number in your email)

Regards
Information governance, complaints and feedback team

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Help protect the environment! - please don't print this email unless you really need to.

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Glynn Magheramorne

Dear City of York Council,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of City of York Council's handling of my FOI request 'Face coverings claim in CYC letter to parents/carers'.

This FOI request has still not been answered.

I note, in another FOI request, which did produce a response, CYC admitted

"the government is *NOT* currently recommending that face coverings are necessary in education settings"

however when CYC wrote to parents/schools on 2 September 2020, as stated in my original FOI request, the following:

"The government has subsequently changed their guidance and *ARE* now recommending that adults and children wear face coverings in communal spaces in secondary schools and higher education settings."

The following is therefore required:
- a public apology
- a correction, issued to all recipients of the original letter (i.e. schools and parents of children at schools)
- an explanation as to how this error occured

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/f...

Yours faithfully,

Glynn Magheramorne

foi@york.gov.uk, City of York Council

Thank you for your email. Please note this is an automatically generated receipt to let you know we have received your email.

As we are all facing unprecedented challenges during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, please be aware that we may take longer to respond to your request.

For information:
* The timescale for responding to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and Environmental Information Regulation (EIR) requests is up to 20 working days. We will contact you promptly if we need you to clarify your request or an extension to complete a public interest test.

* The timescale for responding to requests for a review, for FOIA or EIR responses, is up to 20 working days. You are also able to contact the Information Commissioner, contact details below:

* The timescale for responding to your rights in relation to personal data eg: subject access to records (SAR) request, is up to 1 month. We will contact you promptly if we require further information from you, or an extension.

* The timescale for responding to requests for a review, of responses to your rights regarding personal data, is up to 1 month. You are also able to contact the Information Commissioner, contact details below:

Information Commissioner's Office
Wycliffe House Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire
SK9 5AF
Tel: 0303 123 1113 (local rate) or 01625 545 745 if you prefer to use a national rate number
Fax: 01625 524 510
Or email: [email address]<mailto:[email address]> (please include your telephone number in your email)

Regards
Information governance, complaints and feedback team

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Help protect the environment! - please don't print this email unless you really need to.

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foi@york.gov.uk, City of York Council

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Dear Mr Magheramorne,
 
Reference: IGF/22973
 
Thank you for your correspondence about the way the council is dealing
with your information request, I apologise for the delay in responding to
this review.  You are concerned that the council has not responded to your
request within the statutory time scale.
 
On review, it appears that the council has not provided you with a
response within the statutory time scale. I apologise for this.
 
I have reminded the service about your request and have asked they respond
as soon as possible. I can however advise that due to facing unprecedented
challenges during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, it may take longer
than usual to respond to your request.
 
If you remain dissatisfied you can now contact the Information
Commissioner, using the online form on the following link:
 
[1]http://ico.org.uk/global/contact-us/
 
Alternatively you can call on telephone number 0303 123 1113 (local rate)
 
Yours sincerely
 
Cath Murray
 
 
Cath Murray | Customer Complaints & Feedback Manager  
t: 01904 554145 | e: [2][email address]
 
City of York Council  | Customer Complaints & Feedback Team, Customer &
Corporate Services
West Offices | Station Rise | York YO1 6GA
[3]www.york.gov.uk | [4]facebook.com/cityofyork | [5]@CityofYork
 
 
 
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Help protect the environment! - please don't print this email unless you
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