Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Teachers at lower risk of severe Covid-19 last year, study finds

Teachers were not at increased risk of hospital admission or severe COVID-19 during 2020-21 academic year, a new study has found.
Teachers were not at increased risk of hospital admission or severe COVID-19 during 2020-21 academic year, a new study has found.

A new study found that teachers were not at a higher risk of getting seriously ill from Covid-19 or going to hospital than other working-age adults during the 2020-21 school year.

The study, led by researchers from Glasgow University in cooperation with Public Health Scotland, reviewed Scottish data from March 2020 – July 2021.

It compared the risk of hospitalisation or severe Covid-19 among teachers, and their household members, with adults of working age in the general population.

Although teachers were at a higher risk of needing hospital care while schools were open than when they were closed, they were never at a higher risk than the other working groups.

And throughout the study period, the overall risk of hospitalisation remained less than 1% for teachers, healthcare workers, and adults of working age in the general population.

Teachers not at higher risk than others, even when schools are open

The new study found that “neither teachers nor their household members were at increased risk of hospital admission with Covid-19 or severe Covid-19 at any time during the 2020-21 academic year, when compared with similar working-age adults.”

The study defined a severe case of the virus as one that required admission to the intensive care unit or proved fatal.

Schools were closed during the spring and summer of 2020 and the winter of 2021. During both lockdowns, teachers and their household members were at a 50% lower risk of hospitalisation than the general population. During this same period, patient-facing healthcare workers were at four times the risk of the general population.

This is likely to be broadly reassuring for people involved in face-to-face teaching.”

-Prof David McAllister

When schools were back in session in autumn 2020, the risk of hospital admission in teachers reached a level almost even with the general population. There was a smaller increase during the re-openings in spring 2021, when the delta variant was already circulating.

The study also found that both teachers and their household members were not at higher risk of severe Covid-19 at any time in the 2020-2021 study period.

Why were teachers not at a higher Covid-19 risk?

Lead author Prof David McAllister said that the study can’t say for sure why the risk to teachers was so low while schools were closed. It could be because they had less contact than average adults at the time, he said.

But he said the risk rates while schools were open do paint a useful picture.

“What we can say, is that while schools were open, teacher’s risk of hospitalisation with Covid-19 was about average when compared to that of other working-age people in Scotland who were similar in terms of age, sex, and known underlying medical conditions. This was also true during the recent spike of infections due to the delta variant which occurred when schools were fully open.”

‘Reassuring’ findings for teachers and families

He said that the study should be “broadly reassuring for people involved in face-to-face teaching.”

But, he added, there were important factors among teachers that may have kept their risk level low.

“It is important to note that during the period where the delta variant was circulating, uptake of vaccination among teachers was high, and we would continue to encourage everyone offered a vaccine to take this up.”

Researchers found that “while schools were open, teacher’s risk of hospitalisation with Covid-19 was about average when compared to that of other working-age people in Scotland who were similar in terms of age, sex, and known underlying medical conditions.”

Approximately 80% of the teachers studied were women, and most were young, at an average age of 42. The study also found that 84% has no existing conditions – such as heart disease or asthma – that might make a Covid-19 case more severe.

Keep the numbers in context

Prof McAllister added that it is important to keep the numbers in context. Even when hospitalisation risks among teachers more than doubled with schools in session, the overall rate stayed below 1%. The same was true for the general population.

“Most working-age adults are at very little risk of being hospitalised with Covid-19.”

Community restrictions have eased since last school year, after the move Beyond Level 0 in August. And schools are continuing to deal with the spread of the delta variant in communities. But Prof McAllister said he feels confident that the study’s findings provide an accurate and useful picture.

“There was a big surge of the delta variant in Scotland during the study period. And I think that those findings from June probably pretty well captured what it’s like to be in a school with high rates of delta in the community.”

Read more from the Schools & Family team

IN DEPTH: How the Covid cases break down in Highland schools – and what counts as an outbreak

Outdoor learning: Why schools are breaking out of the classroom and into the real world

World record breaking Paralympian Neil Fachie backs Ellon Wheel Park

 

Already a subscriber? Sign in

[[title]]

[[text]]