Children from different classes mixing in breakfast clubs and extracurricular activities did not increase Covid-19 infections in schools


As children begin to return to school with relaxed restrictions, there is good news about the risk of Covid mingling with friends from other classes.

Children of different classes mixing in places like breakfast clubs and extracurricular activities did not increase C ovid-19 infection in schools, new research in Wales suggests.

Swansea University has spoken to hundreds of teachers from 59 primary schools in Wales and their findings may come as a surprise.

Read more: Coronavirus, infection rate, cases and deaths for all parts of Wales

The research found:

  1. There was no increased likelihood of Covid-19 at school if children of different grades mixed in with things like breakfast and after-school clubs;
  2. The more direct contact primary school staff had with people outside their homes, the higher the likelihood of Covid-19 cases in schools;
  3. Face coverings and social distancing have not reduced the likelihood of Covid-19 cases in school.

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The study, led by researchers at the National Center for Research on the Health and Well-Being of the People of Swansea, linked a staff survey examining different school-based mitigation measures with data from Covid school testing -19.

The report adds, “Our results suggest that reducing direct non-household contact reduces infection rates.

“There was no evidence that face coverings, two-meter social distancing, or stopping children from mixing together was associated with lower risks of Covid-19 or cold-weather infection rates. ‘school.

“Primary school staff have found teaching difficult during the Covid-19 restrictions, especially for young learners and those with additional learning needs.”

Lead author Dr Emily Marchant pointed out that the findings, which have yet to be peer reviewed, do not mean masks don’t work to curb Covid-19, just that they don’t. not found any evidence that they did.

“Our study suggests that it’s really important for staff to minimize physical contact in and outside of school.

“Our study staff wearing face covers said it was difficult for them to teach and the children could not hear.

“We did not find any evidence that social distancing and wearing face coverings reduced the likelihood of Covid-19 at the school level.

“That doesn’t mean the masks don’t work. While there is no evidence (from this study) that masks reduced transmission, that doesn’t mean they don’t work. “

Children return to school in Wales at different times this week and next week

Since the start of the pandemic, measures to prevent or reduce the spread of Covid in schools, such as social distancing, face masks and the shutdown of breakfast clubs and extracurricular activities, have had an impact. dramatic impact on a typical student day.

These mitigation measures are relaxed this quarter, but there are concerns about what this may mean in terms of the spread of Covid in schools.

Dr Marchant added: “Our results show that it is important for school staff to try to minimize the number of direct contacts in schools to reduce the risk of transmission in schools and to ensure that schools can remain open to protect the health, well-being and education of children. “

She said research was vital as children and staff prepare to return to classrooms with many directives such as mask wearing and reverse social distancing.

“We would like to thank the schools that participated in this research because it allows us

work together and find the best evidence to protect children, families and schools.

The researchers looked at responses from 353 people in 59 primary schools from 15 of Wales’ 22 local education authorities.

The study is currently under review and has been published on a site used by researchers to share new findings on topical issues before they are peer reviewed for publication in a journal.

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