UK's school bubble system to end soon: Education Secy
By IANS | Published: July 7, 2021 01:42 PM2021-07-07T13:42:05+5:302021-07-07T13:50:23+5:30
London, July 7 School Covid restrictions in the UK known as the "bubble" system, which have sent hundreds ...
London, July 7 School Covid restrictions in the UK known as the "bubble" system, which have sent hundreds of thousands of students home to isolate, are set to be lifted from July 19, Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said.
It will bring an end to "bubbles", referring to the groups in which young students have their lessons together, and an end to rules which saw entire groups of children sent home to isolate if one of their bubble classmates tested positive for the virus, he told lawmakers in the House of Commons on Tuesday.
With the bubble system scrapped, if students are contacted by Britain's test and trace system as having been near to someone with Covid-19, they will no longer have to isolate and instead they will be asked to take a test.
The move came as recent official figures showed that more than 640,000 children in England were absent from school last week due to coronavirus.
"Children are better off in classrooms with their friends and teachers. This is hugely valuable for their wellbeing as well as their education," Williamson said.
Williamson said the move did not mean the end of the pandemic, but a new phase of managing Covid-19.
He also said the British government supported universities in terms of international students, and in getting back to face-to-face teaching, which young people have missed.
"The vaccine program is ensuring we can take these important steps back to normality and both adults and most importantly children can get back on with their lives," he said.
In a statement after Williamson's announcement, the National Education Union (NEU) accused the UK government of pursuing a herd immunity policy on children in particular.
Kevin Courtney, NEU joint general secretary, said: "It seems clear that the government policies are based on a new form of herd immunity strategy. They are hoping that the increase in vaccination rates and the increase in infection rates across the summer will eventually get cases to fall simply because there is no one left to infect."
The latest development came one day after Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed that most coronavirus restrictions are set to end on July 19 as part of the final step of England's roadmap out of the lockdown.
Scientists have argued that lifting all restrictions at this stage will increase likelihood of dangerous variants.
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