But where social intervention was concerned, he said, very little weight was given to the downsides.
Professor Henegan of the Center for Evidence Based Medicine at the University of Oxford said more evidence and studies were needed before such an order could be passed.
His remarks came after the students returned to school after the government covered the mandatory face in lockdown areas.
Headteachers were also able to use discretionary powers to use face masks among pupils outside their classrooms in non-lockdown areas.
Prof. Henegan said: “Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Jenny Harris, recently said evidence for the use of the mask was ‘not very strong in any direction’. Given the uncertainty, we need immediate to support the new guidance Research is required. “
He said: “Wearing masks can interfere with social well-being. We clearly understand with medicines that proper research needs to be done on the benefit against harm before their use.
“This is a major intervention to impose on society with many unknown and potentially harmful consequences, but we are not researching to justify it.
“It is important to make informed decisions and prevent interventions based on poor quality evidence so that the public can understand the risk of catching the virus, and therefore make their own decisions.
“There have been far more deaths from road traffic accidents worldwide this year than coronoviruses, but we do not force everyone to drive at 10mph.
“There is no such thing as zero risk but now we have a society where there is only one focus on one disease.
“We could have improved our understanding of the role of masks at the height of infection … but if we don’t do the right research then we won’t know what a difference winter makes.”
Other experts have expressed alarm about the use of face coverings among school children, highlighting the importance of facial expression for people with communication, social development, and hearing problems.
A sociologist from De Montfort University, Leicester, Drs. Esmie Hanna said: Those doing a study on the potential downside of the use of masks, said: “My concern is that there has been no debate of masks that are either a supporter or an anti-mask divide that would be deeply unhealthy. There is no full assessment by the government about the effect or potential harm of face masks in schools.
“Our ongoing study showed that it is very difficult or impossible for people to wear masks if they have experienced trauma in which they have been smoked above the mouth, for those with hearing problems. Those who use lip reading, for people with anxiety, breathing problems and people who have mobility problems and need to see their feet while walking. This is not something that people necessarily identify themselves with Having a badge to exempt them from wearing masks is no answer.
He said: “It is potentially stigmatizing, divisive and unequal. There are families who cannot buy masks and many others who do not have a washing machine to wash. The government has the potential benefits of this policy before going back to schools. There was a lot of time to assess the risks – unfortunately we missed our window. “
According to the WHO report, children 12 years or older can benefit from face coverings.
Earlier, Boris Johnson promised to follow the evidence: “In some contexts on whether or not to wear masks, we will look at the changing medical evidence as we need to change the advice. Of course we will.”
• 250,000 clear facial masks are to be provided to help frontline NHS and social care workers communicate with people with conditions such as hearing loss and dementia.