Commenting on a study published by the British Medical Journal which found that teachers were not at increased risk of hospital admission due to Covid-19 compared to similar working-age adults, Dr Mary Bousted, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, said:
"It is very good news and very reassuring that teachers have been found not to be at greater risk of hospitalisation because of Covid. The study cannot determine why this is the case – although the fact that teaching is generally a profession for younger people and a large majority of the profession are female, and that teachers were prompt in being vaccinated, appear to be a significant contributory factor to these positive outcomes.
"Nothing in this study, however, negates the importance of vigilance in suppressing Covid transmission in schools. The NEU has consistently pointed to the issues of Covid in schools as being mainly about onward community transmission, a position belatedly adopted by the Prime Minister in January when he described schools as vectors of transmission. A spike in Covid infection in school-age children will lead to more children and staff missing school and run huge risks of viral transmission into the community where many adults do not share teachers’ general youth or good health.
"We do remain concerned about our more vulnerable members, for example those who are registered as clinically extremely vulnerable or third-trimester pregnant women. We must ensure greater protection for the many thousands in these categories. The NEU calls on school and college leaders to give every reasonable dispensation to ensure those staff can continue to work safely. This will certainly help keep down the number of school staff in hospital."