I am encouraged that the priority for the Department for Education is for education settings to deliver high-quality education face-to-face, to all children and learners.
Since 27 January 2022, face coverings have no longer been required in classrooms or indoor communal areas at schools and colleges. I have been assured that this is because the national data shows the prevalence of COVID-19 is on a downward trajectory. However, other guidance remains in place including robust hygiene measures and ventilation in occupied indoor areas. To improve ventilation across educational settings, I am glad that 9,000 new air cleaning units are being provided for areas where it is not possible to easily improve clean air flow.
It is completely understandable that some parents and teachers will have concerns about safety at school. I am encouraged by the growing body of evidence that children are less affected by the virus. As the Chief Medical Officer has stated, children are more likely to be harmed by missing school than by coronavirus.
I hope parents will be further reassured that schools have implemented a ‘system of controls’, including increased cleaning and keeping areas well ventilated to reduce the risk of transmission.