Covid-risk paper supports why schools should remain open in Scotland

A summary of the latest evidence on coronavirus (COVID-19) in schools in Scotland has been published.

The paper, from the COVID-19 Advisory Sub-Group on Education and Children’s Issues, looks at the risks posed by the virus to pupils and staff, and the benefits to children and young people of schools remaining open.

It shows the rate of coronavirus-related sickness among pupils is low across the country – at 12 November, this represented about 0.1% of all pupils.

There is no direct evidence that transmission of the virus within schools plays a significant role in driving rates of infection among children.

Data found there is no difference between COVID-19 positivity rates in teachers and school staff relative to other worker groups of the same age.

Closing schools presents a serious risk of harm to the wellbeing of children and young people, particularly those who are vulnerable.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney said: “The data helps to demonstrate why it remains safe to keep our schools open wherever possible.

“The guidance we put in place on the health measures required to reduce the risk of COVID-19 in schools  - and the extraordinary efforts by local authorities and staff to follow that guidance - means that schools have remained safe, open and welcoming.

“In our view, the evidence weighs clearly in favour of children attending schools in person when it is safe to do so. The risk of harm to the education and wellbeing of young people of closing schools outweighs any impact that schools have on transmission.

“I hope this paper will help to reassure parents, pupils and staff, especially those in areas with the highest levels of the virus, who are understandably concerned. I know staff will still be anxious - we will continue to listen to them and work with them to make sure they feel safe at work.”

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