Teachers: Coronavirus

Department for Education written question – answered on 24th September 2020.

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Photo of Andrew Gwynne Andrew Gwynne Labour, Denton and Reddish

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether his Department plans to update guidance for schools to ensure that health risks for teachers who shielded during the covid-19 lockdown are minimised.

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

On 2 July the Department published guidance to help schools prepare for all pupils, in all year groups, to return to school full time from the beginning of the autumn term. This guidance is kept under review and updated as necessary. The guidance can be viewed at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools.

The guidance includes information on school workforces and the public health advice schools must follow to minimise the risks of COVID-19 transmission. The public health advice in the guidance makes up a Public Health England endorsed ‘system of controls’, building on the hierarchy of protective measures that have been in use throughout the COVID-19 outbreak. When implemented in line with a revised risk assessment, these measures create an inherently safer environment for children and staff where the risk of transmission of infection is substantially reduced.

Shielding measures were paused from 1 August. Clinically vulnerable and extremely clinically vulnerable staff are able to return to school. While in school they should follow the advice in the Department’s guidance to minimise the risks of transmission. This includes taking particular care to observe good hand and respiratory hygiene, minimising contact and maintaining social distancing where possible.

The Department recommends that school leaders discuss any concerns individuals may have around their particular circumstances and reassure staff about the protective measures in place.

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