Back to School: Be Prepared For The Unexpected…
Are you ready for the gates to reopen? The current plan is for all schools in England to reopen in September, while schools in Scotland are set for a “soft start” on 12 August. However, there are concerns that it’s too soon for lockdown to be over, as relaxing restrictions could trigger a “second wave” of the coronavirus.
After studying the effects with contacts carrying the virus, including the impact of the government’s “phased return” strategy for schools in England, researchers at University College London (UCL) and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine have determined that the Test-Trace-Isolate (TTI) programme needs to be scaled up for it be an effective way of preventing a second wave from actually happening.
According to UCL: “The results of the modelling suggest a second wave in the UK might be avoided with increased levels of testing (between 59% and 87% of symptomatic people tested during their active COVID-19 infection) and effective contact tracing and isolation.”
A recent news report from BBC News revealed that: “the [TTI] study showed the combined effect on pupils and parents would be enough to cause a second wave without an effective test and trace programme. This would happen around December 2020 and would be twice as big as the first peak, unless the government took other actions such as re-imposing lockdown.”
Meanwhile, preventing the spread of the virus has also been linked to school closures, as stated by Paul Hunter, Professor in Medicine at the University of East Anglia: “The evidence is clear that schools are important in the spread of Covid-19,” he said. “Our studies show that, across Europe, closing schools was the single factor most strongly associated with drops in infection rates.”
With this in mind, schools should be prepared for anything – including lockdown extensions and local restrictions.