Children ‘not primary spreaders of virus’, study finds
Children are “not the primary drivers of Covid-19 spread” in schools, according to a study reportedly being considered by the Government.
A senior member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) subcommittee on schools told The Daily Telegraph that the Government had examined the Australian study as it considers a phased reopening of primary schools from June 1.
The paper by the National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance considered all coronavirus cases in the schools of New South Wales, the country’s most populous state.
It found that “children are not the primary drivers of Covid-19 spread in schools or in the community. This is consistent with data from international studies showing low rates of disease in children and suggesting limited spread among children and from children to adults”.
The source cited by the Telegraph described the data as being a “very useful and interesting piece of research”.
It follow the deputy chief medical officer for England, Dr Jenny Harries, saying Sage had modelled seven different scenarios for reopening schools.
But a survey has suggested poorer families are less likely to want to send their children back to school despite these pupils having fewer opportunities for home learning.
Pupils from the wealthiest families will have done seven full school days’ worth of extra home learning by June 1, according to an Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) report.
If children do not go back to school until September, the gap between the most affluent and the poorest pupils will double to three school weeks, the study warns.
And chief executives of 22 academy trusts have warned schools must reopen soon to avoid “irreparable” damage to vulnerable children.