Schools: Staff

Department for Education written question – answered on 13th May 2020.

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Photo of Lord Lingfield Lord Lingfield Conservative

To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to protect teaching and non-teaching staff from COVID-19 when schools re-open.

Photo of Baroness Berridge Baroness Berridge Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade) (Minister for Women), The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education

The school workforce is central to the country’s response to COVID-19 and we thank them wholeheartedly for their support at this difficult time.

As a result of the huge efforts everyone has made to adhere to strict social distancing measures, the transmission rate of coronavirus (COVID-19) has decreased. We therefore anticipate, with further progress, that we may be able, from the week commencing 1 June, to welcome back more children to early years, school and further education settings. We will only do this provided that the five key tests set by government justify the changes at the time.

A range of actions will be taken to prevent transmission of the virus, including protective measures to minimise contact and mixing. Public Health England is clear that if early years settings, schools and colleges implement these measures, and crucially if they are also applying regular hand washing, hygiene and cleaning measures and handling potential cases of the virus as per advice, then the risk of transmission will be lowered.

We have published guidance for education and childcare settings on how to implement protective measures, which is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-implementing-protective-measures-in-education-and-childcare-settings.

Access to testing is already available to essential workers, including all school staff.

These are rapidly developing circumstances. We continue to keep the situation under review and will keep Parliament updated accordingly.

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