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What the Experts say: Schools are not drivers of Covid infection

Public Health England’s medical director, Dr Yvonne Doyle, has said schools are not “drivers” or “hubs” of Covid infection.

Speaking to the BBC last week, Dr Yvonne Doyle:

“We understand, and I understand fully, that parents may be nervous but I would stress again that schools are not the drivers and not the hubs of infection.”

She also explained that PHE attributes some school-related coronavirus figures to the testing programme in secondary schools finding cases that would otherwise go undetected.

Research by the University of Warwick earlier this year found that children returning to the classroom did not lead to wider outbreaks of the virus.

Lead researcher Dr Mike Tildesley, said:  

“Our analysis of recorded school absences as a result of infection with Covid-19 suggests that the risk is much lower in primary than secondary schools and we do not find evidence to suggest that school attendance is a significant driver of outbreaks in the community.”

The department has taken several measures to ensure that infection rates remain under control. These include two on-site tests then twice-weekly home tests, maintaining cleaning and hygiene measures while continuing to follow advice on self-isolation in confirmed cases of Covid.

Schools also have clear guidance on how to maintain good ventilation, and the 300,000 carbon dioxide monitors we are providing, backed by £25 million, are being delivered to schools from the start of term.

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