Last reviewed 20 November 2020
In its latest briefing on Covid-19 and educational settings, the Department for Education (DfE) highlights the benefits of education far outweigh the risks of Covid-19 for children and therefore keeping settings open is a government priority.
The briefing is based on data, analysis and advice from a number of different sources including SAGE, Public Health England, the Office for National Statistics, and the Joint Biosecurity Centre. It states that the impacts of missing education are severe for children with clear evidence that being out of education causes significant harm to learning, life chances, and mental and physical health now and in the future.
In terms of the workforce, the report says there is "reassuring evidence" that staff working in education are not at higher risk than those working in other sectors. Rates of Covid-19 in nurseries and schools during the autumn term have shown that there is no difference in positivity rates between education staff and other key worker groups. In addition, they do not present a higher risk to their household than other key worker groups. Settings that implement the system of controls outlined in DfE guidance, as well as those from their own risk assessment, create a safer environment for children and staff and substantially reduce the risk of infection.
The report shows that the prevalence of Covid-19 in younger children is roughly in line with the general population and highlights that children and young people continue to be at low risk from Covid-19 and very rarely get seriously ill, even though infection rates have risen. The briefing also states that there is no clear evidence that educational settings are playing a significant role in the spead of Covid-19.
The full briefing is available here.