Teachers are safe back in class and at no more risk of coronavirus than other key workers, scientists say – The Sun

TEACHERS will be at no greater risk of catching coronavirus when schools return than any other key worker, scientific advice will reveal.

And the Government took an ultra-cautious approach in deciding to only open primary schools gradually from June 1, the papers will show.

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The findings in the Sage scientific papers come amid a massive row over whether it’s safe to send England back to school.

A whopping 10.6 million people – a third of all workers – are ‘key workers’ across the UK, according to the Office for National Statistics.

This includes NHS and social care staff, but also an army of other workers including bus and train drivers, supermarket staff, police and some council staff.

Hardline union bosses have waged war on the reopening plan – which they have claimed could cost lives.

Scientists looked at various models for return to schools

They have demanded the Sage papers are published before teachers could consider heading back to work.

But the hotly anticipated advice – which goes online on Friday afternoon – is expected to deal a blow to unions by saying schools can reopen safely.

The Sun understands the Sage documents will find teachers will be at no greater risk of catching the virus than any other key workers.

They will show scientists looked at various models for a return to schools, including different year groups and pupil numbers.

And ministers adopted a cautious approach by proposing to only open primaries gradually, beginning with reception, Year 1 and Year 6.

The publication comes after union bosses held talks with boffins sitting on Sage last Friday.

Among others, they met with England’s Chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance, and the Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty.

Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School & College Leaders (ASCL), told headteachers he had received “a lot of reassurance” at the meeting.

Speaking in a video to members a few days afterwards, he said: “There was one particularly reassuring one for me – and that is that teachers and other staff returning to their place of work of school or college are not at greater risk than people returning to other key worker jobs.

“For me, that is an important reassurance.

“Now it’s not enough and what we have said is we cautiously support the direction of travel of the government.

“But it did seem to me a lot of that scientific and medical stuff was very helpful in illuminating and providing reassurance about the key issues.”

Mr Barton said the meeting was “exceptionally informative, interesting, illuminating and ultimately, for me, reassuring”.

Kids are known to not get as sick from Covid-19, and there is some evidence they may be less likely to pass it on if they are infected.

Jenny Harries, Deputy Chief Medical Officer and a member of Sage, has said the low number of teachers who have died from the virus is a “signal” schools can reopen.

Death rates for teachers 'very low'

She told a Downing Street press conference last weekend: “For teachers – again it’s difficult because we have had lockdown – but [there are] some high-level sort of signals.

"If you look at the ONS death rates, for example, the teaching profession on that are very low in comparison to a number of other different professions or work areas.

“So I think we have got a number of signals that say this [schools] are a safe place to go.”

Social workers will be placed in schools to help spot the signs of abuse and neglect among kids, ministers announced last night.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson is pumping £6.5million into getting social workers into 150 schools in England.

It is hoped they will be in place by the start of the September term.


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