Tuesday 7 April 2020

NEU: Combination of current Covid-19 measures, including school closures, should remain in place


7 April 2020

School Closure Policies

Throughout the current crisis, the NEU has called for policy decisions to be based on the findings of research and scientific enquiry. It welcomes the systematic review by Professor Viner and his colleagues of the effectiveness of school closure policies in dealing with coronavirus outbreaks, including Covid-19.

Kevin Courtney, Joint General Secretary of the NEU, said:
This is an important study, to which those who work in education will give the most careful consideration. We note that it provides no evidence on which to move back from the current strategy adopted by the UK. The review indicates that school closures are effective as part of a combination of tactics of social distancing and testing. This is the evidence from China, from Hong Kong, and from a modelling study carried out in the UK.

In relation to the findings of two Chinese studies, the review notes that both pieces of research conclude that the overall package of quarantine and social distancing, including school closure, was effective in reducing the epidemic in mainland China.

Summarising two further studies of Covid-19 in Hong Kong, the review notes that school closures were implemented at the same time as a number of other stringent social distancing measures. Collectively, these measures to held to have controlled the spread of the outbreak.

Finally, the review reports the findings of a UK research study, that a combination of measures, again including school closures, would be the most effective.

Everyone wants schools to be re-opened as soon as is safely possible. This can only happen on the basis of sound scientific reasoning that school closure is no longer necessary for the suppression of Covid-19. We are a long way from this point. The combination of measures that the government has introduced must remain in place.

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