A child’s risk of catching the coronavirus at school is ‘extremely low’, Public Health England has said, and they’re more likely to catch it at home. And teachers are barely at risk either.
The Government study looked at children across 131 English primary and preschools in June and early July.
Of 12,026 adults and children, just three tested positive for Covid-19. Two were staff and one was a child.
It represents just 0.02 per cent of the whole cohort studied, and all cases were only mild or showed no symptoms at all.
It chimes with another recent report from PHE, which found only 0.01 per cent of 23,400 reopened schools in June had a Covid-19 outbreak.
Researchers also separately tested people in five regions of England for antibodies – proteins in the blood which signal someone has been infected, even if they are unaware.
A similar number of antibodies were found in the school children and staff compared with the general population, proving there is no higher risk in a educational setting.
Almost every child in the study was under 11 years old, so it doesn’t apply to secondary schools.
Dr Shamez Ladhani, consultant epidemiologist, PHE said: ‘This is the largest study of its kind in the country and suggests attending preschool and primary school brings no additional risk to either staff or students.
‘Although these results are preliminary, they should be very reassuring to parents who may be anxious about their children returning to school.
‘As has been found in previous research, infection within educational settings is extremely low, and while it appears that children do contract COVID-19, the overwhelming majority experience mild or no symptoms, and are unlikely to pass it on.’
England’s chief medical officer, Professor Chris Whitty, has also said reopening schools brings less risk of long-term harm than keeping children at home.
Preschool (3-4 year olds) and some primary school years (reception, Year 1) were allowed to return from June 1 in England.