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The news of Leicester schools closing as the city re-enters lockdown has left many parents across England scratching their heads as to whether it’s safe for their own kids to be back at school where they live.
Health secretary Matt Hancock said because “children have been particularly impacted by this outbreak”, schools in the city are closing for the majority of pupils, with only vulnerable students and the children of key workers able to attend.
As it stands, only limited groups of school pupils have been allowed back into classrooms across England since the start of June – with reception, Year 1 and Year 6 given priority at primary level, and Year 10 and 12 at secondary. Should parents with kids in these year groups be worried about them being back?
What we know about Covid-19 and children
Health experts around the world are in broad consensus that children have a much milder experience of the virus than adults when infected with Covid-19 – and only a very small number of children do go on to become seriously ill.
There have been concerns raised about a Kawasaki-type disease related to Covid-19 – however cases of these are still considered extremely rare.
Studies have shown that 1-5% of diagnosed Covid-19 cases occur in children. Cases tend largely to be asymptomatic, ie. where they don’t show symptoms.
Research during the pandemic has suggested children are far less likely to spread the virus around – and become infected with the virus – than adults – this was also true of an earlier coronavirus, the 2003 SARS epidemic.
More recently, a study from Singapore found the risk of Covid-19 transmission among children in schools,...