Education: 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 role will testing and contact-tracing play in education; whether the systematic testing of staff and pupils at schools play a role in keeping effective reproduction number of coronavirus below 1; and what PPE is appropriate for use across the variety of school settings in view of the expected levels of prevalence of the virus.

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

To ask Her Majesty's Government what advice they will provide on parameters for (1) appropriate physical distancing, (2) levels of social mixing, and (3) appropriate use of PPE, in schools.

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

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether there will be comprehensive access to regular testing for children and staff to ensure that schools and colleges do not become hotspots for COVID-19.

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

On 12 May, the department published comprehensive guidance to schools which included advice on protective measures and appropriate use of personal protective equipment (PPE). The guidance can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-implementing-protective-measures-in-education-and-childcare-settings/coronavirus-covid-19-implementing-protective-measures-in-education-and-childcare-settings.

On 18 May 2020, the Government announced that with immediate effect, all UK citizens over the age of 5 who experience symptoms are eligible to be tested.

To support schools in the return of a wider group of children and young people from 1 June, they will have access to testing if they display symptoms, as will any symptomatic members of their household.

The government has launched a new national test and trace programme. This will include more traditional methods of contact tracing if a child, young person or parent tests positive. This could include, for example, direct discussion with parents and schools or colleges on recent contacts.

The majority of staff in education, childcare and children’s social care settings will not require PPE beyond what they would normally need for their work, even if they are not always able to maintain distance of 2 metres from others.

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