UK health minister Matt Hancock launched a study to find out the prevalence of COVID-19 among school children and teachers to help the phased reintroduction of education after a lengthy lockdown.
The decision to gradually re-open schools has divided opinion, with Britain suffering the second-worst death toll from COVID-19 and ministers warning of a possible second wave.
Hancock said, “This study will help us better understand how common asymptomatic and mild cases of COVID-19 are so that we can support parents, pupils, teachers and support-staff, and inform our ongoing response to this new virus.”
Selected age groups have been able to attend schools since the start of June, although some educators decided not to re-open as they said it was not safe. Older students will also begin schooling from June 15.
The voluntary study will collect data from 200 staff and pupils at up to 100 English schools.