A teachers’ union has said the rising rate of infection among students is evidence that schools are not safe.
The National Education Union (NEW) shared information from the coronavirus infection survey and said the data would end the debate on whether or not schools are a safe place.
The data published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) shows that infection rates peaked on Christmas Day.
On December 25, the information showed that 1 in 40 elementary school children – and 1 in 27 high school students – were infected, tThe Manchester Evening News reported.
The numbers also showed that in London the numbers were 1 in 23 and 1 in 18 respectively higher than the national numbers.
Dr. Commenting on the data, Mary Bousted, Joint Secretary General of the NEU, said: “From these results it can be seen that the National Education Union was right to advocate safety in schools, a massive public health issue that this government has been consistently addressing the curve.
“The government cannot seem to decide whether schools are safe or unsafe. Let these data clear their confusion. Schools clearly drive infections in children and then out into the wider community.
“This peaked on Christmas Day with 1 in 27 secondary school children and 1 in 40 primary school children infected. In London it is 1 in 18 high school students and 1 in 23 elementary school children. These numbers are really shocking and entirely the result of government negligence. “
Teachers’ union NASUWT says the data now breaking out confirms what it has believed all along – that those who work in the education sector are significantly more at risk – and adds even more weight to their campaign for teachers and educational staff Vaccine to be prioritized.
Jac Casson, a member of the National Executive of the NASUWT Teachers’ Union in Greater Manchester, told the Manchester Evening News: “NASUWT has been trying to collect data on Covid infection rates in schools since September 2020 and that information appears to be largely a closely guarded one While the government continued to use inaccurate data to suggest that teachers and school children were no more likely to be infected by Covid than other workers or members of society.
“According to data collected by NASUWT in its Freedom of Information Requests, it appears that teachers and education workers are, as suspected, significantly more at risk. This in turn would support the teachers union’s # accinate2educate campaign.”
Despite the data, the government insists schools are safe – staff are at no greater risk than other workers.
When asked about school safety on BBC Radio 5 Live, UK Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty replied today: “If they are safe for children, the answer is absolutely yes – in large part because of the fantastic job teachers have done. But the main reason is that children are much less at risk for this virus than others. “
He added, “Teachers are at no greater risk than others who go to work. Going to work obviously carries a risk to many jobs, but they are not high risk jobs like social workers or nurses and doctors, there is a risk for everyone Profession and teacher are included, but no more. “
Prof. Whitty, who warned the NHS about the worst point in the pandemic, said the reason schools closed in this lockdown was because “by mixing children together, they can bring households together and increase the risk of transmission,” but stressed that “the absence of children from school is a very big disadvantage for these children – and this applies to health, mental health and other areas as well as education”.
He said, “The real risk was that there could be upward pressure on the R – the transfer rate – and because this new variant is so much more portable, we unfortunately had to include education in this as we do.” I didn’t have to do that before. “
Last week the Ministry of Education wrote to school principals: “The decision to limit local care to vulnerable children and children of critical workers does not suggest that schools and colleges are no longer safe places.”
It states: “The Office of National Statistics (ONS) data from September 2 to October 16 showed no evidence of a difference in the rate of teachers / educators who tested positive for COVID-19 compared to key workers and other professions. In addition to schools The Infection Survey (November 3-19) found the infection rate among teachers to be similar to that of the wider population. “
However, the unions say such data is “hopelessly out of date and not reliable”.