Schools: Coronavirus

Department for Education written question – answered on 29th June 2020.

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Photo of Layla Moran Layla Moran Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Education)

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to ensure future covid-19 outbreaks in schools can be contained; and if he will make it his policy to introduce a comprehensive test, trace and isolate strategy for schools.

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

The new NHS Test and Trace service was launched on 28 May across England. Anyone who tests positive for coronavirus will be contacted by NHS Test and Trace and will need to share information about their recent interactions. The government has recruited 25,000 contact tracers, able to track 10,000 new cases a day.

If a child or young person in school develops symptoms compatible with COVID-19, they should be sent home and advised to self-isolate for 7 days and arrange to have a test. Where the child or young person tests positive, traced close contacts, including the rest of their class, should be sent home and advised to self-isolate for 14 days

As part of the national test and trace programme, local Public Health England health protection teams will contact all schools attended by someone who tests positive for COVID-19. The health protection team will work with the school to carry out a rapid risk assessment and advise of any further action that needs to be taken.

In some cases, a larger number of children may be asked to self-isolate at home as a precautionary measure. Where schools are observing guidance on infection prevention and control to reduce the risk of transmission, closure of the whole school will not generally be necessary and should not be considered outside of discussion with health protection teams.

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