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Contact Tracing: Schools

Question for Department for Education

UIN HL4806, tabled on 20 May 2020

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact of children returning to school before the NHSX contact tracing application is released in England on the spread of COVID-19.

Answered on

4 June 2020

As a result of the huge efforts everyone has made to adhere to strict social distancing measures, the transmission rate of COVID-19 has decreased and the government’s five tests have been met. Based on all the evidence, the department asked primary schools to welcome back children in nursery, Reception, year 1 and year 6, alongside priority groups (vulnerable children and children of critical workers), from 1 June. From 15 June, secondary schools can invite year 10 and 12 pupils (years 10 and 11 for alternative provision schools) back into school for some face-to-face support with their teachers, to supplement their remote education, which will remain the predominant mode of education for these pupils this term. Priority groups can continue to attend full-time.

The new NHS Test and Trace service was launched on 28 May across England. Anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 will be contacted by NHS Test and Trace and will need to share information about their recent interactions. The government has recruited 25,000 contact tracers to deliver this programme. Staff and pupils in nurseries and schools will be eligible for testing if they display COVID-19 symptoms, as will members of their households.

We have published guidance for schools to help prepare for wider opening, including how any suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19 should be handled: