During a discussion about new measures to be put in place to stop the spread of the Omicron variant in schools, Calum Semple, Professor of Child Health and Outbreak Medicine at Liverpool University, stressed that it was important that the British get the idea about COVID -19 is spread outdoors, which emphasizes that the virus spreads indoors.
Speaking to Sky News, Professor Semple emphasized: “First of all, when you are outside, there is ultraviolet light and a good exchange of air.
“So that you don’t get the virus outside … you have to put it to bed.”
He also stressed that the core problem of transmission remains in the classroom, where the air can be “stale” and let the virus linger.
The coronavirus expert noted that even some of the aerosols from speaking people “can stay in the air for a few hours if the air doesn’t change”.
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He noted that face masks as well as adequate ventilation will prevent the virus from entering schools.
The government has sent 7,000 classroom air purifiers across the country to keep circulation and prevent transmission.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he was “absolutely determined” to keep schools open for the Christmas season in January despite record numbers of COVID-19 infections.
Face masks were also promoted in secondary schools in England.
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It comes when Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, told Sky News that the rising number of teacher shortages could mean teachers are not being given enough time to cover the sick, leading to school closings.
He said: “The difficulty with the people I represent as school and university administrators is that they won’t know until Tuesday morning at 8 o’clock …
“When they get calls, how many employees have tested positive and are therefore not going to school.”
Paul Whiteman, general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers, also warned that up to “half” of teachers could be unemployed by Tuesday, given the rampant spread of Omicron.
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He welcomed the government’s plan to prevent schools from being closed, but stressed the critical importance of bringing resources into schools to prepare for high numbers of staff absenteeism.
He told Sky News, “Everyone understands that keeping kids in school is best, so it has to be the focus.”
Most children will be back in class by January 10th.
A record 162,572 Covid cases have been registered in England in the past 24 hours, government figures show. The UK has now registered 246,780 cases of the Omicron variant.