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Children: Coronavirus

Question for Department for Education

UIN 16797, tabled on 16 June 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to help reduce the covid-19 infection rate among secondary school children.

Answered on

24 June 2021

The Department has worked closely with Public Health England to develop and refresh the system of controls, which are available to view here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/schools-coronavirus-covid-19-operational-guidance#system-of-controls. These include cleaning hands thoroughly more often than usual, minimising contact between individuals, and keeping occupied spaces well ventilated to reduce the risk of transmission in schools. Testing regimes and the system of controls, when implemented in line with schools’ own workplace risk assessment, create an inherently safer environment for children and staff where the risk of transmission of infection is substantially reduced. The way to control the COVID-19 outbreak is the same, even with the current new variants.

On 8 June the Government announced an enhanced support package for any areas affected by local outbreaks. The package includes specialist rapid response teams, surge testing and enhanced contact tracing, military support, specialist communication, supervised in school testing, and discretion to reintroduce face coverings in communal areas in schools if directors of public health decide it is appropriate.