In advance of the start of the new school term in August 2021, this paper provides a summary of the latest evidence on the current state of the epidemic; the role of schools in transmission of COVID-19; the risks to children and young people from COVID-19 or from being out of school; workplace-associated risks to staff from COVID-19; and a brief summary of the sub-group’s advice to date on how to keep schools open and safe.
There is a continuing need to consider the balance of risks and harms in the light of new trends in data, evidence and scientific advice, including with regard to the potential direct health risks to children and staff from COVID-19; the wider impact on community transmission of schools reopening; and the direct risks to mental health, wellbeing, development, educational attainment and health outcomes from school closures.
A list of publications and sources that have informed this report can be found in the references section.
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