Teachers are not at greater risk of catching Covid in the classroom, an excellent study from New Zealand found earlier this year.
But it’s taken us a while to catch up with this thinking – and there have been many calls to keep our schools closed as a result.
Reassuringly, new research from Scotland has found teachers weren’t at increased risk of severe Covid-19 or hospital admission during the last academic year.
So they aren’t more likely to end up with severe Covid any more than the general population.
The Glasgow University collaboration with Public Health Scotland found neither teachers nor their families were at a higher risk of severe Covid or hospital admission from it, compared with similar working age adults.
But for the first time, this research compares the risk among teachers, and their families, with healthcare workers and working adults from March 2020 to July 2021, when the Delta variant was circulating.
The risk of hospital admission with Covid was actually around 50% lower in teachers and their families than in the general population.
That risk, however, was almost four times higher in healthcare workers and almost twice as high in their families.
In the first period of full school opening – autumn term 2020 – the risk of hospitalisation in teachers increased around 2.4-fold, reaching a similar level to the general population.
In the summer term of 2021, when schools were also open and vaccination of the Scottish population was underway, there was a smaller increase of around 1.7-fold.
The study also revealed that both teachers and their families weren’t at higher risk of severe Covid-19 at any time in the 2020-21 study period.
Professor David McAllister of Glasgow University and lead author, said: “What we can say, is that while schools were open, teachers’ 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.
“Together with the finding that teachers were at lower risk of severe Covid-19, and that people who shared a household with teachers were not at increased risk, this is likely to be broadly reassuring for people involved in face-to-face teaching.”
Most teachers sensibly got vaccinate during the Delta spike.