To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the trends in the number of parents who will need to be at home to look after nursery and school children who are isolating as a result of covid-19 over (a) the next (i) one and (ii) three months and (b) the course of the rest of 2021.
The Department regularly reviews data, analysis and advice from a number of different sources, including the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies, Public Health England (PHE), the Office for National Statistics and the Joint Biosecurity Centre.
The Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Modelling (SPI-M) has produced modelling throughout the COVID-19 outbreak. SPI-M’s latest published modelling contributed to previous decisions made around Step 4 of the roadmap: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/spi-m-o-summary-of-further-modelling-of-easing-restrictions-roadmap-step-4-9-june-2021.
From 16 August, pupils and students under the age of 18 years old will no longer be required to self-isolate if they are a close contact of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. Instead, pupils and students will be contacted by NHS Test and Trace, informed that they have been in close contact with a positive case and advised to take a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test. The Department encourages all individuals to take a PCR test if they are advised to do so.
Attendance in nurseries has remained largely stable over the summer term 2021, despite the rising levels of community case rates. PHE’s national flu and COVID-19 surveillance reports show that 0 to 4 year olds have consistently had among the lowest case rates of all age groups.