Coronavirus (COVID 19): Advisory Sub-Group on Education and Children’s Issues minutes: 7 July 2020

Minutes from the third meeting of the COVID-19 Advisory Group held on Tuesday 7 July 2020.

Items and actions

1. The sub-group discussed the likely publication of their advice on physical distancing and school transport. They covered questions of prevalence, surveillance, monitoring and testing issues briefly in preparation for a fuller discussion at next week’s meeting.

2 The sub-group considered further its commission relating to school transport.  Relevant evidence from SAGE and the COVID-19 Advisory Group was summarised for members.  Members reflected on potential differential approaches to dedicated school transport versus public transport.  Evidence on the merits of different mitigations were discussed.  And the sub-group covered issues of physical distancing, face coverings, hygiene issues, ventilation, the significance of the age of children and young people, staggered starts, behavioural factors, and the safety of adults on both dedicated school transport and public transport.

3. It was proposed as desirable that travel in dedicated school transport might be seen as subject to the same rules as in a school environment. The importance of simplicity and clarity of messaging was agreed.  It was noted that approaches needed to remain flexible, and the prevalence of the virus in the general population should be considered when reviewing mitigations. There should be support for active travel wherever possible.

4. The sub-group considered its commission relating to early learning and childcare. Relevant evidence was summarised for members, including evidence on infection rates for young children and infants.  It was noted that many control measures are particularly challenging for young children.  In that context, the sub-group reflected on good practice learned from hubs, family learning, outdoor learning, what young children need to thrive, and the importance of strong leadership, as well as appropriate mitigations. 

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