Education union calls for action on COVID-19 transmission in schools

By agency reporter
November 23, 2020

The latest school infection rate figures were released by the Office for National Statistics on 20 November 2020. Secondary school infection rates have rebounded since half term, and the National Education Unions says it appears that the lockdown has done nothing to slow the increase in infection amongst school age pupils.
 
The rate of infection amongst secondary age pupils has risen by 51 times since the start of September, and they have a significantly higher rate of infection than any other age group. Primary and secondary age children are the only age groups with an increasing rate of infection.
 
There were 124 confirmed outbreaks in secondary schools in the week following half term. Secondary and primary schools were the second and third most commonly reported location by people testing positive for coronavirus.
 
Kevin Courtney, Joint General Secretary of the National Education Union said: “The Government cannot bury their heads in the sand about coronavirus transmission in schools any longer. There is very clear evidence that secondary age pupils are catching the virus in school and on their way to school, and then passing it to their families. In these circumstances the Government cannot expect schools to ran as normal with almost no measures to protect staff and pupils.
 
"The Government's failure to break the chains of transmission in schools means this period of lockdown will not result in cases falling to any significant degree – we will be in the same place on 2 December as we were on 5 November when we needed to introduce the lockdown because cases were so high.

"Today’s missive to school leaders forbidding them to move to rotas is another example of the Government failing to act to suppress viral transmission in schools and from them to the community. The Government’s refusal to give schools any money to deal with coronavirus this term speaks volumes.”

* Coronavirus (COVID-19) Infection Survey, UK: 20 November 2020 here

* National Education Union https://neu.org.uk/

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