BRTUS : Weekly Update : Week 41

22nd October 2020 by James Brunt

1. SAGE Scientist: “Schools are more of a risk than we thought”

Professor John Edmonds from SAGE stated on BBC Radio 4’s PM that: “Evidence is emerging that secondary schools are more of a risk than we thought they were.”

PM – 20/10/2020 – BBC Sounds

Catch up on your favourite BBC radio show from your favourite DJ right here, whenever you like. Listen without limits with BBC Sounds.

2. DfE removes “School’s aren’t high risk” from guidance

The DfE previously stated in its guidance for schools that PHE and the DHSC did not consider schools to be high-risk work environments. The document went on to state it was therefore appropriate for teachers and other school staff to return to their workplace setting.”

This detail has vanished in an update to the guidance on 21st October 2020.

Guidance for full opening: schools

The following information has been updated: Prevention (Section 1: System of controls) Other considerations (Section 1: System of controls) Response to any infection (Section 1: System of controls) Pupils travelling from abroad (Section 2) Attendance (Section 2) Workforce (Section 2) Safeguarding (Section 2) School uniform (Section 2) Wraparound provision and extra-curricular activity (Section 2) Behaviour expectations (Section 3) Hospital schools (Section 3) Contingency planning for outbreaks (Section 5) It continues to be the aim that all pupils, in all year groups, remain in school full-time throughout the autumn term.

3. PCR Positivity rates rising fastest in secondary and university age-groups

Data from the ONS showed a dramatic increase in the percentage of people testing positive for Covid-19 in secondary and university age-groups. The growth rate in these age groups is almost 400% larger than that of the general population.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Infection Survey pilot – Office for National Statistics

1. Main points An estimated 336,500 people (95% credible interval: 312,200 to 362,000) within the community population in England had the coronavirus (COVID-19) during the most recent week, from 2 to 8 October 2020, equating to around 1 in 160 people (95% credible interval: 1 in 170 to 1 in 150).

4. Welsh Government admit they have no idea how schools affect transmission in the community

In a Technical Advisory Cell document containing evidence under-pinning the decision to utilise a ‘Fire-Break’ lockdown in Wales, the Welsh Government have admitted they do not know how schools affect Covid-19 transmission within the community. We have yet to see a similar admission from Westminster.

Technical Advisory Group: fire breaks

The paper recommends a 2-3 week hard fire break to bring R below 1 in order to both lessen the impact and slow the growth of the epidemic in Wales. If you need a more accessible version of this document please email Please tell us the format you need.

5. New study claims schools are the source of increased transmission in the community

An American study released this week showed that school Covid-19 clusters can be expected to propagate through the community, with each cluster potentially instigating hundreds to thousands of additional cases.

In the long shadow of our best intentions: model-based assessment of the consequences of school reopening during the COVID-19 pandemic

As the United States grapples with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, a particularly thorny set of questions surrounds the reopening of K-12 schools and universities. The benefits of in-person learning are numerous, in terms of education quality, mental health, emotional well-being, equity and access to food and shelter.

6. Clinically Extremely Vulnerable children told to stay at home

In TIER 3 alert areas, clinically extremely vulnerable children are now advised not to attend school.

Guidance on shielding and protecting people who are clinically extremely vulnerable from COVID-19

This guidance is for everyone who has been identified as clinically extremely vulnerable. If you are in this group, you will previously have received a letter from the NHS or from your GP telling you this. You may have been advised to shield in the past.

7. BRTUS and barrister Mark McDonald bringing legal actions

Criminal law barrister Mark McDonald is working with BRTUS to advise families who have been threatened with legal action for keeping their children at home. If you have received a fine notice, please message the BRTUS: Parents United Facebook page for details.

To learn more about our fight for Sensible, Safe and Sustainable schools during the pandemic, take a look at our Facebook page.

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