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Schools: Coronavirus

Department for Education written question – answered on 20th May 2020.

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Photo of Stephen Morgan Stephen Morgan Shadow Minister (Defence) (Armed Forces and Defence Procurement), Shadow Minister (Defence)

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to reduce the spread of covid-19 in school hubs for vulnerable children.

Photo of Nick Gibb Nick Gibb Minister of State (Education)

Whilst plans for wider opening of schools have been announced from 1 June at the earliest, in the meantime schools continue to be open to priority groups: vulnerable children and children of critical workers.

With significantly reduced pupil numbers, the Department understands that shared provision through multi-school cluster or hub arrangements may be considered. The Department has published guidance on cluster and hub provision which makes it clear that public health should be a priority and that provision through individual schools and settings, where possible, entails fewer people in a single setting and less social contact, and therefore a reduced risk of spreading the virus. The guidance is available here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/using-clusters-and-hubs-to-maintain-educational-provision/cluster-and-hub-provision-coronavirus-covid-19.

Where schools have no alternative but to close and cannot ‘pair up’ with a neighbouring school, larger hubs may be the only practical alternative. If this is the case, public health should remain a priority and any arrangement should follow the latest guidance on implementing protective measures in education settings, which is available 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.

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