Ethnic Groups: Coronavirus

Department for Education written question – answered on 1st June 2020.

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Photo of Baroness Garden of Frognal Baroness Garden of Frognal Deputy Chairman of Committees, Deputy Speaker (Lords)

To ask Her Majesty's Government what considerations they have made of BAME households in developing plans to re-open schools during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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

We have developed plans to open schools to more children and young people in line with our responsibilities under the Equality Act 2010, including the Public Sector Equality Duty. This means we have had due regard to the need to eliminate discrimination, harassment, victimisation and any other conduct that is prohibited by or under the Act; advance equality of opportunity between persons who share a relevant protected characteristic, including race, and persons who do not share it; and foster good relations between persons who share a relevant protected characteristic and persons who do not share it.

We are aware that there is emerging evidence that BAME individuals can be more severely affected than their peers by the virus, though this is not yet fully understood. On 4 May, Public Health England launched a review into the factors affecting health outcomes from COVID-19, to include ethnicity, gender and obesity. This will be published by the end of May and will help to inform our approach. In the meantime, schools should be especially sensitive to the needs and worries of BAME members of staff, BAME parents and BAME pupils, and consider if any additional measures or reasonable adjustments may need to be put in place to mitigate concerns.

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