PARENTS should risk fines by taking their kids out of school before the Christmas holiday to avoid infecting their families, a SAGE expert suggested today.
Professor Robert West said today parents of secondary school children should weigh up taking older children out of classes before the end of term to slash the risk of passing on Covid.
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Professor West, a member of the Independent Scientific Pandemic Insights Group on Behaviours, which advises SAGE, said it would lower the risk of transmitting Covid to older family members who they may see over Christmas.
It comes after the latest ONS figures showed a rise in covid cases among secondary school pupils.
He said this afternoon: "One of the things, I think, that some of us have been suggesting is to allow parents to take their children away from schools before the official end of term."
He admitted it won't be practical for everyone and the Government shouldn't order it, but it may be helpful for some.
He went on: "What you can potentially get is a situation where you've got a number of days before the Christmas period starts where they can be, if not self isolated, at least at low risk of getting infected, and therefore at lower risk of transmitting that to vulnerable people.
"I think it's something that needs to be really carefully considered."
Last week SAGE documents revealed the fears of extra Covid cases as a direct result of Christmas mixing.
They encouraged people to isolate as much as they can before and after seeing friends and family.
The Department for Education has insisted it won't be cutting terms short or extending the holiday period for Christmas, and that kids have missed out on enough learning.
And parents who did choose to take their kids out of school would face a £60 fine.
Schools reopened in September after six months shut due to covid.
But millions of kids have had to self-isolate since – if their classmate or teacher gets the virus.
Students at universities are beginning a staggered return to their homes for the holidays from this week onwards.
They can choose to have a test before they go so they can be confident they are not passing it on to their family.
Secondary school kids are more at risk of catching and transmitting the virus than their younger peers.
The news comes days after The Sun revealed that kids would get marked more leniently in their exams next year thanks to the disruption of the pandemic.
While exams will still go ahead next year, boards will make them easier by narrowing down the list of topics that might come up, or allowing them extra materials to take into the tests.
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