Aerial view of road markings saying 'school keep clear'

Concern over spread of Indian variant in schools

Government and PHE urged to publish the case data linked to schools and colleges.
27 May 2021 , Katie Coyne

Unions are urging the UK government and Public Health England to publish data on the number of variant cases linked to schools and colleges.

Eight education trade unions representing the majority of the sector wrote to the secretary of state for education Gavin Williamson yesterday (26 May) urging him to release the date as concern grows over the B.1.617.2 “Indian” variant.

The letter said unions had been asking for this information since the start of May, and that it should have been provided before the government changed its guidance on face coverings in England on 17 May. School and college students are no longer required to wear masks.

Unions backing the call to action include: ASCL, the GMB, NASUWT, NAHT, NEU, NSEAD, UNISON, and Unite.

The letter said: "There are growing concerns around the variant B.1.617.2 and reports from areas such as Bolton that cases are growing fastest amongst school age children, with cases in Bolton higher now than at any point during the pandemic."

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