There have been more than 1,000 coronavirus outbreaks in educational institutions since schools reopened in September, according to government scientific advisors.
An outbreak or cluster is classified by Public Health England (PHE) as two or more positive cases of Covid-19 related to a cessation.
A document released today by the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergency (SAGE) said PHE said it had happened at least 1,000 times in educational institutions in England since September.
The way PHE reports the data does not indicate how many people were infected in each incident.
For comparison, according to PHE surveillance reports, around 173 clusters or outbreaks with two or more cases have occurred in eateries such as pubs or restaurants.
SAGE made it clear that there is no direct evidence that school transmission plays a "significant role" in increasing infection rates in children. But it added, "There is no direct evidence to suggest otherwise either."
It is said that between September and October – when the second wave hit the UK – secondary school students played a "much greater role" in spreading the virus between households than they did in the summer.
There have been more than 1,000 coronavirus outbreaks in educational institutions since schools reopened in September. Pictured: A child at Arbors Primary Academy school in Northampton on September 2nd
The November 4 SAGE document released this afternoon assessed evidence of the role of children in the pandemic.
There is less evidence that younger children cause infections.
SAGE said, “There is some evidence from contact tracing studies that preschool and elementary school children are less prone to infection than adults (low to medium confidence).
"The evidence for children in secondary education is more inconsistent, and older children appear to have rates similar to adults."
The paper alleged that children could "clearly" bring infections into the household and spread it to other household members.
Data from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) showed there were cases where only one child in a household tested positive, suggesting that it was the one who brought them into the home as opposed to a parent.
However, this does not necessarily mean that they caught the coronavirus from their school.
And the data suggests that children are more likely to get the coronavirus from a household member than from a friend or teacher.
SAGE argued that the role of schools in community transmission "cannot simply be viewed in isolation from wider action".
Potential increases can occur because the opening of schools allows another mix of things – for example, parents can go to work or socialize after weaning children.
SAGE has stated that the risk of children suffering from serious clinical illness from Covid-19 is low, but that children from closed schools have "significant health, developmental and mental health problems."
There is evidence that the epidemic growth resumed before schools reopened.
It is said that between September and October – when the second wave hit the UK – secondary school students played a "much greater role" in spreading the virus between households than they did in the summer
It comes after Dr. Susan Hopkins, associate director of Public Health England (PHE), on Nov. 2, said children are "clearly most likely" to get the coronavirus in their home.
At the Times Radio Breakfast, she said, "We know that in the summer all families and people go back to work and go out and socialize. So there are many ways of infection that get into the household."
Schools, colleges, kindergartens and universities will remain open during England's month-long lockdown that began November 5th.
But the teachers and their unions resisted.
Paul Whiteman, general secretary of NAHT School Directors Union, said today: “We remain particularly concerned about the spread of the virus among older students and high schools, especially given that we know the spread of the virus has increased significantly since school fully opened again.
“There is also worrying evidence that older students may play a role in spreading the virus among family members and this needs to be monitored very closely.
“Overall, it remains that all education workers are urged to remain on the front lines and it is up to the government to do more to ensure the safety of all students and staff.
"Routine testing and priority access to seasonal flu vaccinations are just two examples of how they can do this."
Dr. Mary Bousted, Joint Secretary General of the National Education Union, said: “We are calling on the government to play a much more active role in suppressing the transmission of Covid-19 within schools.
"The situation is untenable and widespread disruption will continue unless the government takes steps to get coronavirus under control in schools."
The National Education Union's campaign to close schools and colleges as part of the month-long lockdown has supported more than 150,000 teachers.
Kevin Courtney, joint secretary-general of NEU, said the government "failed the communities" by keeping schools open because "infections in secondary schools alone have increased 50-fold since September".
Mark Woolhouse, professor of infectious disease epidemiology at the University of Edinburgh and a member of SAGE, argued that so far no major outbreaks have been reported in UK schools.
He said today, “Even small outbreaks in schools are more likely to affect staff than children.
"There is no evidence that the reopening of schools in August (in Scotland) and September (in England) caused a significant public health problem."
Professor Woolhouse said the document highlighted two things that needed close monitoring.
“First, older school children are more likely to test positive in surveys than any other group except young adults. This is not surprising as schools work much closer to normal than most other parts of society.
Second, there is evidence that children often bring infections into households (without necessarily infecting others). This is not surprising either; it follows from the first point.
"A key question is whether intra-school transmission is driving the epidemic and keeping R above 1."
Dr. Sarah Lewis, a lecturer in genetic epidemiology at Bristol University, recently found that teachers are no more likely to get the coronavirus than other professions.
She said: & # 39; (It) suggests that the measures to reduce transmission in schools are working. It's also a positive development that the R-rate in Scotland is now below one despite the fact that schools have been open since August. & # 39;
She added, “As expected by many scientists, this report shows, with greater intermingling, that children are more likely to develop the virus and transmit it, although the evidence still suggests they are less susceptible than adults, especially younger ones Children.
"It's comforting to see that even with so much more data, the risk that children will have serious consequences from the virus is extremely small."
Last week all students and teachers at secondary schools and colleges in England were told to wear face covers when moving around the premises under government guidance.
It did so after a leading medical figure warned that failure to close secondary schools could result in prolonged lockdowns in England.
Andrew Hayward, a member of the SAGE subgroup of the government's Advisory Group on New and Emerging Respiratory Viruses (Nervtag), claimed that there was "significant transmission" within secondary schools.
Education unions attended a meeting of the Ministry of Education (DfE) on Thursday with representatives from the PHE to discuss data on transmission in schools.
A spokesman for the Education Department said: "The chief and deputy chief physician understood that the balance of evidence is clear that schools remain open and have highlighted the harm caused by having children out of the school Education for the learning, development and mental health of children are.
“Children are at very little risk for the virus, and employees are not at any higher risk than those who work in other sectors.
"We have stepped up the already tough measures schools are taking to reduce the transmission of the virus, including requiring facial covers in all secondary schools in communal areas outside of the classroom."
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