Schools: Coronavirus

Department for Education written question – answered on 17th November 2020.

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Photo of Abena Oppong-Asare Abena Oppong-Asare Shadow Exchequer Secretary (Treasury)

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what measures to prevent infection are in place for children of medically vulnerable parents returning to school.

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

Schools continue to remain open for all children and young people, as they have been since the start of the autumn term, for the duration of the New National Restrictions. Being at school is vital for the education and wellbeing of children. It continues to be our aim that all pupils, in all year groups, remain in school full-time.

The risk to children themselves of becoming severely ill from COVID-19 is very low. For the vast majority of children, the benefits of being back in the classroom far outweigh the low risk from COVID-19, and schools can take action to reduce risks still further.

The Department has published actions for schools during the COVID-19 outbreak, to support schools in welcoming back all children from the start of the autumn term. The full guidance is available through the following link: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools.

Schools should continue to undertake risk assessments and implement the system of controls set out in this guidance. These measures provide a framework for school leaders to put in place proportionate protective measures for all pupils and staff. If schools follow the above guidance and maximise control measures, they can be confident they are managing risk effectively. The measures in place include regular handwashing, promoting good respiratory hygiene, and minimising contact between individuals.

From 5 November 2020, following guidance for education settings during the New National Restrictions, children who live with someone who is clinically extremely vulnerable, but who are not clinically extremely vulnerable themselves, should continue to attend education. The guidance for education settings during the New National Restrictions can be viewed here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/education-and-childcare-settings-new-national-restrictions-from-5-november-2020#schools.

New guidance for shielding and protecting people who are clinically extremely vulnerable from COVID-19 was published on 4 November. The guidance is available through the following link: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/people-at-higher-risk/advice-for-people-at-high-risk/.

If parents have concerns about their child attending school because they consider that they, or members of their household, may have particular risk factors, they should discuss these with their school.

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