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Education Committee scrutinises the science behind school closures

15 January 2021

The Education Committee is holding a session with experts to explore the scientific evidence behind the decision to close schools during the latest national lockdown, and transmission rates among children.

The Committee questions Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr Jenny Harries alongside the Department’s Chief Scientific Advisor and Deputy Chief Scientific Adviser and Professor Russell Viner, President of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health.

Likely areas of questioning

The session is likely to explore topics including:

  • the scientific evidence behind the decision to close schools and colleges
  • vaccinations for teachers and support staff
  • testing in schools
  • the adverse effects of closures on children’s mental health and wellbeing

The Prime Minister announced a national lockdown on 4th January, with schools moving to remote learning for all but vulnerable pupils and children of key workers with immediate effect until February half term at the earliest.

Witnesses

Tuesday 19 January 2021

At 10am:

  • Professor Russell Viner, President of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, and Professor of Adolescent Health at the UCL Institute of Child Health 
  • Dr Jenny Harries, Deputy Chief Medical Officer for England 
  • Osama Rahman, Chief Scientific Adviser, Department for Education, and Director, Analysis Directorate, Operations Group
  • Dr Dougal Hargreaves, Deputy Chief Scientific Adviser, Department for Education, Clinical Senior Lecturer in Child Public Health at Imperial College, and Honorary Consultant Paediatrician at UCL Hospital

Further information

Image: PA