To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they have received about the data concerning the vulnerability of teachers in the publication by the Office for National Statistics COVID-19 infection published in Coronavirus (COVID-19) Infection Survey, UK, published on 6 November, following concerns raised by Dr Sarah Rasmussen, TES, and the National Education Union; and what plans they have to issue revised guidance to ensure safety in schools for teachers and pupils in response.
9 December 2020
The department regularly engages with a wide range of organisations around its response to the COVID-19 outbreak, including on data and the evidence base.
The Office for National Statistics’ (ONS) COVID-19 Infection Survey results between 2 September to 16 October, published on 6 November, show no evidence of differences in the positivity rate between primary and secondary school teachers, other key workers and other professions.
This evidence was endorsed by the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE), the body of experts that provides scientific advice to the government for emergencies. More information is available at: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/935102/sage-65-meeting-covid-19-s0863.pdf.
On 26 November the ONS published additional analysis that addresses concerns raised by Dr Rasmussen and others on the number of school workers, key workers and other professions in England who had COVID-19. This also shows no clear evidence as to whether there is a difference in the level of individuals who test positive for COVID-19 between teachers and other key workers.
The department continues to review data, analysis and advice from a number of different sources including SAGE, Public Health England, the ONS, and the Joint Biosecurity Centre to ensure our policies are guided by the most up to date scientific evidence.