Schools: Coronavirus

Department for Education written question – answered on 21st July 2020.

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Photo of Caroline Lucas Caroline Lucas Green, Brighton, Pavilion

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, when he plans to publish a strategy for schools setting out his plan for pupils in the event of (a) local and (b) national lockdown to prevent the transmission of covid-19; and if he will make a statement.

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

The Government has been clear that our intention is for all children to return to school from September. On 2 July we published guidance to help schools prepare for this, including advice for contingency planning in the event of a lockdown.

If a local area sees a spike in infection rates that is resulting in localised community spread, appropriate authorities will decide which measures to implement to help contain the spread. The Department will be involved in decisions at a local and national level affecting a geographical area and will support appropriate authorities and individual settings to follow the health advice. In the event of a local outbreak, the Public Health England health protection team or local authority may advise a school or number of schools to close temporarily to help control transmission.

Schools are expected to have a contingency plan in place for this eventuality. This may involve a return to remaining open only for vulnerable children and the children of critical workers and providing remote education for all other pupils. The Department has issued guidance and best practice on remote education and is working with Oak National Academy and others to provide further support. This guidance can be viewed at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools

A 'COVID-19 contain framework: a guide for local decision-makers' has been published which sets out how national and local partners will work with the public at a local level to prevent, contain and manage outbreaks. This can be viewed at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/containing-and-managing-local-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreaks/covid-19-contain-framework-a-guide-for-local-decision-makers.

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