Regional approach to school openings ‘likely’

Schools could open more widely at different times in different areas, says deputy chief medical officer

Tes Reporter

Coronavirus schools

Deputy chief medical officer Dr Jenny Harries has said a regional approach may be taken when deciding how schools in England reopen.

When asked whether there could be a regional or phased system for reopening schools after the latest lockdown, Dr Harries said today: “I think it’s likely that we will have some sort of regional separation of interventions.”

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Addressing the Education Select Committee, she added: “So I think on the broad epidemiology, it is highly likely that when we come out of this national lockdown, we will not have consistent patterns of infection in our communities across the country.

“And therefore, as we had prior to the national lockdown, it may well be possible that we need to have some differential application.”

But Dr Harries said schools will be at the top of the priority to ensure that the balance of education and wellbeing is “right at the forefront” of consideration.

On the risk of transmission in schools, Dr Harries said: “Schoolchildren definitely can transmit infection in schools – they can transmit it in any environment – but it is not a significant driver as yet, as far as we can see, of large-scale community infections.”

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