Schools reopening for all pupils will have 'minor effect on Covid R rate'

SCHOOLS reopening for all pupils will have a minor effect on the R rate, a report shows.

Next month’s move will only slightly bump up Covid infections, according to experts.

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The Legatum Institute think tank says getting all kids back on March 8 will only see 789 admissions to hospital.

This is based on Sage scientist estimates the R rate will increase by 0.2 to 0.5 when classrooms reopen.

Legatum Institute boss Baroness Philippa Stroud said: “Covid-19 has fundamentally impacted all of us – affecting our health, our relationships, and our livelihoods.

“Policy makers are now faced with an unenviable task of making choices on how to unwind restrictions in a way that balances significant health, economic, and social costs and benefits.

"Our research demonstrates that this difficult subject can be approached in an objective and structured fashion, so that decision makers can fully understand the complex issues at hand and the various costs and benefits of different courses of action.

Another think-tank, the IFS warns ministers need to think about how kids are coaxed back to the classroom, as disadvantaged families will often shun a voluntary return.

They also warn selecting year groups to head back to class also increases inequality.


Christine Farquharson, a Senior Research Economist at IFS, said: "Prioritising certain year groups widens the gaps between children of different ages.

“A voluntary return to school from 8 March risks widening inequalities further if the poorest children stay home while their better-off peers choose to return to the classroom."

Health minister Helen Whately said yesterday plans for schools testing are a “work in progress”.

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