A new study claims there is little evidence to suggest schools play a significant role in increasing the spread of Covid in the wider community, the TES reports.
The paper, from the University of Warwick, looked at the relationship between coronavirus infection and school absences between September and December 2020.
Author Mike Tildesley said: “Our analysis of recorded school absences as a result of infection with Covid-19 suggest 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.”
Edward Hill, also from the University of Warwick, said: “During the first two weeks of the November lockdown we observed an increase in pupil absence as a result of infection with Covid-19, yet in the following weeks the data indicates that in several regions there was no subsequent rise in Covid-19 caused teacher absence.
“It is important to note that our findings only refer to cases reported in school children and teachers, and do not provide an indication as to whether these individuals were infected within the school environment.”
The study, which is yet to be peer-reviewed, comes as Boris Johnson said no decisions have been made on whether all pupils in England can return to school at the same time.
The Prime Minister is preparing to set out his “road map” for relaxing Covid measures on February 22, with March 8 earmarked for schools to start reopening to all pupils.