Commenting on the announcement by the Prime Minister of his “Living with Covid” plan, Dr Mary Bousted, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, said:
“We have come very far in our fight against Covid. The NHS's work to deliver the vaccine and booster programmes has made an enormous difference, and we are in a much better place than two years ago. But it is not the case that we have defeated Covid, nor that everyone can 'live' with it. The government's own attendance data for schools shows the high disruption caused by illness and isolation. Whereas Omicron has faded across the population, it is nonetheless a presence in schools.
“We need to know if the Chief Medical Officer and Chief Scientific Officer support the move to end isolation for those who test positive with Covid from Thursday. It is vital that public health, not political considerations, decide that date. We also want to know if the Government is planning any further investment in measures such as improved ventilation.
“Once again an announcement has been made by the Prime Minister without any guidance for schools in place, and on a timescale where assimilation of any forthcoming guidance will rely on it being coherent in the first place. School leaders will not be holding their breath.”