An emergency Independent SAGE statement:

Hundreds of thousands of children have missed some school this term due to contracting Covid. Each case carries risks to their health and wellbeing and disrupts their education. With the country facing a “tidal wave” of Omicron (on top of continuing high Delta cases), we believe the government need to use the time between now and the New Year to prepare schools for a safer reopening, in particular fully funding and supplying schools with ventilation and/or air filtration devices to ensure that the airborne virus does not hang in the air infecting children and school staff.  

Whilst children generally have a milder illness than adults, ONS death certificate data shows that 37 children under the age of 15, and another 41 young people between age 15 and 19 have died from Covid-19 up to 3 December; more than 6000 6-17 year olds have been hospitalised since the start of the pandemic, and around 77,000 children are suffering from prolonged symptoms of fatigue and cognitive difficulties which is affecting their schooling. We still don’t know the long term effects of Long Covid on children. 

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