We have received the following information from The Department For Education:
'Being at school is vital for children and young people’s education and for their wellbeing. Time spent out of education is detrimental for children and young people’s cognitive and academic development, particularly for disadvantaged children and young people.
The decision to limit on-site provision to vulnerable children and the children of critical workers, does not suggest that schools and colleges are no longer safe places. Instead, limiting attendance is about reducing the number of contacts that all of us have with people in other households. We have resisted limiting attendance at schools and colleges until now, but in the face of the rapidly rising numbers of cases across the country and intense pressure on the NHS, we now need to use every lever at our disposal to reduce contacts outside households wherever possible. In all cases, provision must continue to be made on-site for vulnerable children and the children of critical workers to safeguard their welfare and ensure essential services can continue to function.
The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health has in the last few days said: “Children’s wards are usually busy in winter. As of now we are not seeing significant pressure from COVID-19 in paediatrics across the UK. As cases in the community rise there will be a small increase in the number of children we see with COVID-19, but the overwhelming majority of children and young people have no symptoms or very mild illness only. The new variant appears to affect all ages and, as yet, we are not seeing any greater severity amongst children and young people.”
There is no evidence the new strain of the virus causes more serious illness in either children or adults and there continues to be strong evidence, to date, that children and younger people (those under 18 years old) are much less susceptible to severe clinical disease than older people.'