Urgent action on ventilation needed, says Labour

Labour is calling for urgent action on ventilation as new data shows there has been a 67 per cent increase in the number of children out of school due to coronavirus in the two weeks up to 30 September.

The data reveals that 204,000 children were out of school due to coronavirus last week, compared to 122,000 two weeks ago, emphasising the need for government to do more to keep children learning together in school.

Labour is calling on the Education Secretary to finally deliver the ventilation and support schools need to help prevent transmission within classrooms, as well as work with schools and the schools immunisation programme to get the vaccine out to teenagers as quickly as possible, alongside ensuring parents and pupils can access readily available information on the benefits of vaccination.

Government modelling shows that even with vaccine rollout 220,000 more school days are expected to be lost before the end of March due to this virus. Data from Cambridge University shows that increasing ventilation could halve the risk of coronavirus spreading from one infectious person to others in classrooms, demonstrating the urgent need to improve ventilation across schools.

Kate Green, Labour’s Shadow Education Secretary, said: “The government must not allow another year of children’s learning to descend into chaos with pupils constantly in and out of school. Ministers should have acted months ago to put ventilation systems in place in our schools and should be doing everything possible to vaccinate teenagers. Yet once again the government has been too slow to act and children are left feeling the consequences.

“Labour has called for comprehensive Covid mitigations in schools, alongside setting out an ambitious recovery plan – extending the school day for new activities, tutoring for all who need it, mental health support in every school – to deliver the new opportunities to learn, play and develop every child needs. It’s time the Conservatives match Labours’ ambition for children’s recovery and their futures.”

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