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COVID-19 mitigation measures in primary schools and association with infection and school staff wellbeing: An observational survey linked with routine data in Wales, UK

Emily Marchant Orcid Logo, Lucy Griffiths Orcid Logo, Tom Crick Orcid Logo, Rich Fry Orcid Logo, Joe Hollinghurst, Michaela James Orcid Logo, Laura Cowley, Hoda Abbasizanjani Orcid Logo, Fatemeh Torabi Orcid Logo, Daniel A. Thompson, Jonathan Kennedy, Ashley Akbari Orcid Logo, Michael Gravenor Orcid Logo, Ronan Lyons Orcid Logo, Sinead Brophy Orcid Logo

PLOS ONE, Volume: 17, Issue: 2, Start page: e0264023

Swansea University Authors: Emily Marchant Orcid Logo, Lucy Griffiths Orcid Logo, Tom Crick Orcid Logo, Rich Fry Orcid Logo, Joe Hollinghurst, Michaela James Orcid Logo, Laura Cowley, Hoda Abbasizanjani Orcid Logo, Fatemeh Torabi Orcid Logo, Jonathan Kennedy, Ashley Akbari Orcid Logo, Michael Gravenor Orcid Logo, Ronan Lyons Orcid Logo, Sinead Brophy Orcid Logo

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Abstract

IntroductionSchool-based COVID-19 mitigation strategies have greatly impacted the primary school day (children aged 3–11) including: wearing face coverings, two metre distancing, no mixing of children, and no breakfast clubs or extra-curricular activities. This study examines these mitigation measur...

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ISSN: 1932-6203
Published: Public Library of Science (PLoS) 2022
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This study examines these mitigation measures and association with COVID-19 infection, respiratory infection, and school staff wellbeing between October to December 2020 in Wales, UK.MethodsA school staff survey captured self-reported COVID-19 mitigation measures in the school, participant anxiety and depression, and open-text responses regarding experiences of teaching and implementing measures. These survey responses were linked to national-scale COVID-19 test results data to examine association of measures in the school and the likelihood of a positive (staff or pupil) COVID-19 case in the school (clustered by school, adjusted for school size and free school meals using logistic regression). Linkage was conducted through the SAIL (Secure Anonymised Information Linkage) Databank.ResultsResponses were obtained from 353 participants from 59 primary schools within 15 of 22 local authorities. Having more direct non-household contacts was associated with a higher likelihood of COVID-19 positive case in the school (1–5 contacts compared to none, OR 2.89 (1.01, 8.31)) and a trend to more self-reported cold symptoms. Staff face covering was not associated with a lower odds of school COVID-19 cases (mask vs. no covering OR 2.82 (1.11, 7.14)) and was associated with higher self-reported cold symptoms. School staff reported the impacts of wearing face coverings on teaching, including having to stand closer to pupils and raise their voices to be heard. 67.1% were not able to implement two metre social distancing from pupils. We did not find evidence that maintaining a two metre distance was associated with lower rates of COVID-19 in the school.ConclusionsImplementing, adhering to and evaluating COVID-19 mitigation guidelines is challenging in primary school settings. Our findings suggest that reducing non-household direct contacts lowers infection rates. There was no evidence that face coverings, two metre social distancing or stopping children mixing was associated with lower odds of COVID-19 or cold infection rates in the school. Primary school staff found teaching challenging during COVID-19 restrictions, especially for younger learners and those with additional learning needs.</abstract><type>Journal Article</type><journal>PLOS ONE</journal><volume>17</volume><journalNumber>2</journalNumber><paginationStart>e0264023</paginationStart><paginationEnd/><publisher>Public Library of Science (PLoS)</publisher><placeOfPublication/><isbnPrint/><isbnElectronic/><issnPrint/><issnElectronic>1932-6203</issnElectronic><keywords/><publishedDay>28</publishedDay><publishedMonth>2</publishedMonth><publishedYear>2022</publishedYear><publishedDate>2022-02-28</publishedDate><doi>10.1371/journal.pone.0264023</doi><url/><notes/><college>COLLEGE NANME</college><department>Health Data Science</department><CollegeCode>COLLEGE CODE</CollegeCode><DepartmentCode>HDAT</DepartmentCode><institution>Swansea University</institution><apcterm>SU Library paid the OA fee (TA Institutional Deal)</apcterm><funders>The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), grant number: ES/J500197/1, ES/S007393/1, MRC MR/V028367/1,</funders><lastEdited>2022-07-13T11:20:32.6699925</lastEdited><Created>2022-03-05T12:48:26.5541395</Created><path><level id="1">Swansea University Medical School</level><level id="2">Medicine</level></path><authors><author><firstname>Emily</firstname><surname>Marchant</surname><orcid>0000-0002-9701-5991</orcid><order>1</order></author><author><firstname>Lucy</firstname><surname>Griffiths</surname><orcid>0000-0001-9230-624X</orcid><order>2</order></author><author><firstname>Tom</firstname><surname>Crick</surname><orcid>0000-0001-5196-9389</orcid><order>3</order></author><author><firstname>Rich</firstname><surname>Fry</surname><orcid>0000-0002-7968-6679</orcid><order>4</order></author><author><firstname>Joe</firstname><surname>Hollinghurst</surname><order>5</order></author><author><firstname>Michaela</firstname><surname>James</surname><orcid>0000-0001-7047-0049</orcid><order>6</order></author><author><firstname>Laura</firstname><surname>Cowley</surname><order>7</order></author><author><firstname>Hoda</firstname><surname>Abbasizanjani</surname><orcid>0000-0002-9575-4758</orcid><order>8</order></author><author><firstname>Fatemeh</firstname><surname>Torabi</surname><orcid>0000-0002-5853-4625</orcid><order>9</order></author><author><firstname>Daniel A.</firstname><surname>Thompson</surname><order>10</order></author><author><firstname>Jonathan</firstname><surname>Kennedy</surname><orcid/><order>11</order></author><author><firstname>Ashley</firstname><surname>Akbari</surname><orcid>0000-0003-0814-0801</orcid><order>12</order></author><author><firstname>Michael</firstname><surname>Gravenor</surname><orcid>0000-0003-0710-0947</orcid><order>13</order></author><author><firstname>Ronan</firstname><surname>Lyons</surname><orcid>0000-0001-5225-000X</orcid><order>14</order></author><author><firstname>Sinead</firstname><surname>Brophy</surname><orcid>0000-0001-7417-2858</orcid><order>15</order></author></authors><documents><document><filename>59502__22622__b92ecb1677b94234b9ffb28f804de0fe.pdf</filename><originalFilename>59502.pdf</originalFilename><uploaded>2022-03-17T11:19:32.2358310</uploaded><type>Output</type><contentLength>978664</contentLength><contentType>application/pdf</contentType><version>Version of Record</version><cronfaStatus>true</cronfaStatus><documentNotes>© 2022 Marchant et al. 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spelling v2 59502 2022-03-05 COVID-19 mitigation measures in primary schools and association with infection and school staff wellbeing: An observational survey linked with routine data in Wales, UK d68adb6744707b3bd75e07bd334d0516 0000-0002-9701-5991 Emily Marchant Emily Marchant true false e35ea6ea4b429e812ef204b048131d93 0000-0001-9230-624X Lucy Griffiths Lucy Griffiths true false 200c66ef0fc55391f736f6e926fb4b99 0000-0001-5196-9389 Tom Crick Tom Crick true false d499b898d447b62c81b2c122598870e0 0000-0002-7968-6679 Rich Fry Rich Fry true false d7c51b69270b644a11b904629fe56ab0 Joe Hollinghurst Joe Hollinghurst true false 9a717d184fb8f768e462d95b91e63e23 0000-0001-7047-0049 Michaela James Michaela James true false a80501f280e89fee276510b25fc68e77 Laura Cowley Laura Cowley true false 93dd7e747f3118a99566c68592a3ddcc 0000-0002-9575-4758 Hoda Abbasizanjani Hoda Abbasizanjani true false f569591e1bfb0e405b8091f99fec45d3 0000-0002-5853-4625 Fatemeh Torabi Fatemeh Torabi true false 08163d1f58d7fefcb1c695bcc2e0ef68 Jonathan Kennedy Jonathan Kennedy true false aa1b025ec0243f708bb5eb0a93d6fb52 0000-0003-0814-0801 Ashley Akbari Ashley Akbari true false 70a544476ce62ba78502ce463c2500d6 0000-0003-0710-0947 Michael Gravenor Michael Gravenor true false 83efcf2a9dfcf8b55586999d3d152ac6 0000-0001-5225-000X Ronan Lyons Ronan Lyons true false 84f5661b35a729f55047f9e793d8798b 0000-0001-7417-2858 Sinead Brophy Sinead Brophy true false 2022-03-05 HDAT IntroductionSchool-based COVID-19 mitigation strategies have greatly impacted the primary school day (children aged 3–11) including: wearing face coverings, two metre distancing, no mixing of children, and no breakfast clubs or extra-curricular activities. This study examines these mitigation measures and association with COVID-19 infection, respiratory infection, and school staff wellbeing between October to December 2020 in Wales, UK.MethodsA school staff survey captured self-reported COVID-19 mitigation measures in the school, participant anxiety and depression, and open-text responses regarding experiences of teaching and implementing measures. These survey responses were linked to national-scale COVID-19 test results data to examine association of measures in the school and the likelihood of a positive (staff or pupil) COVID-19 case in the school (clustered by school, adjusted for school size and free school meals using logistic regression). Linkage was conducted through the SAIL (Secure Anonymised Information Linkage) Databank.ResultsResponses were obtained from 353 participants from 59 primary schools within 15 of 22 local authorities. Having more direct non-household contacts was associated with a higher likelihood of COVID-19 positive case in the school (1–5 contacts compared to none, OR 2.89 (1.01, 8.31)) and a trend to more self-reported cold symptoms. Staff face covering was not associated with a lower odds of school COVID-19 cases (mask vs. no covering OR 2.82 (1.11, 7.14)) and was associated with higher self-reported cold symptoms. School staff reported the impacts of wearing face coverings on teaching, including having to stand closer to pupils and raise their voices to be heard. 67.1% were not able to implement two metre social distancing from pupils. We did not find evidence that maintaining a two metre distance was associated with lower rates of COVID-19 in the school.ConclusionsImplementing, adhering to and evaluating COVID-19 mitigation guidelines is challenging in primary school settings. Our findings suggest that reducing non-household direct contacts lowers infection rates. There was no evidence that face coverings, two metre social distancing or stopping children mixing was associated with lower odds of COVID-19 or cold infection rates in the school. Primary school staff found teaching challenging during COVID-19 restrictions, especially for younger learners and those with additional learning needs. Journal Article PLOS ONE 17 2 e0264023 Public Library of Science (PLoS) 1932-6203 28 2 2022 2022-02-28 10.1371/journal.pone.0264023 COLLEGE NANME Health Data Science COLLEGE CODE HDAT Swansea University SU Library paid the OA fee (TA Institutional Deal) The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), grant number: ES/J500197/1, ES/S007393/1, MRC MR/V028367/1, 2022-07-13T11:20:32.6699925 2022-03-05T12:48:26.5541395 Swansea University Medical School Medicine Emily Marchant 0000-0002-9701-5991 1 Lucy Griffiths 0000-0001-9230-624X 2 Tom Crick 0000-0001-5196-9389 3 Rich Fry 0000-0002-7968-6679 4 Joe Hollinghurst 5 Michaela James 0000-0001-7047-0049 6 Laura Cowley 7 Hoda Abbasizanjani 0000-0002-9575-4758 8 Fatemeh Torabi 0000-0002-5853-4625 9 Daniel A. Thompson 10 Jonathan Kennedy 11 Ashley Akbari 0000-0003-0814-0801 12 Michael Gravenor 0000-0003-0710-0947 13 Ronan Lyons 0000-0001-5225-000X 14 Sinead Brophy 0000-0001-7417-2858 15 59502__22622__b92ecb1677b94234b9ffb28f804de0fe.pdf 59502.pdf 2022-03-17T11:19:32.2358310 Output 978664 application/pdf Version of Record true © 2022 Marchant et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License true eng http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
title COVID-19 mitigation measures in primary schools and association with infection and school staff wellbeing: An observational survey linked with routine data in Wales, UK
spellingShingle COVID-19 mitigation measures in primary schools and association with infection and school staff wellbeing: An observational survey linked with routine data in Wales, UK
Emily Marchant
Lucy Griffiths
Tom Crick
Rich Fry
Joe Hollinghurst
Michaela James
Laura Cowley
Hoda Abbasizanjani
Fatemeh Torabi
Jonathan Kennedy
Ashley Akbari
Michael Gravenor
Ronan Lyons
Sinead Brophy
title_short COVID-19 mitigation measures in primary schools and association with infection and school staff wellbeing: An observational survey linked with routine data in Wales, UK
title_full COVID-19 mitigation measures in primary schools and association with infection and school staff wellbeing: An observational survey linked with routine data in Wales, UK
title_fullStr COVID-19 mitigation measures in primary schools and association with infection and school staff wellbeing: An observational survey linked with routine data in Wales, UK
title_full_unstemmed COVID-19 mitigation measures in primary schools and association with infection and school staff wellbeing: An observational survey linked with routine data in Wales, UK
title_sort COVID-19 mitigation measures in primary schools and association with infection and school staff wellbeing: An observational survey linked with routine data in Wales, UK
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author_id_fullname_str_mv d68adb6744707b3bd75e07bd334d0516_***_Emily Marchant
e35ea6ea4b429e812ef204b048131d93_***_Lucy Griffiths
200c66ef0fc55391f736f6e926fb4b99_***_Tom Crick
d499b898d447b62c81b2c122598870e0_***_Rich Fry
d7c51b69270b644a11b904629fe56ab0_***_Joe Hollinghurst
9a717d184fb8f768e462d95b91e63e23_***_Michaela James
a80501f280e89fee276510b25fc68e77_***_Laura Cowley
93dd7e747f3118a99566c68592a3ddcc_***_Hoda Abbasizanjani
f569591e1bfb0e405b8091f99fec45d3_***_Fatemeh Torabi
08163d1f58d7fefcb1c695bcc2e0ef68_***_Jonathan Kennedy
aa1b025ec0243f708bb5eb0a93d6fb52_***_Ashley Akbari
70a544476ce62ba78502ce463c2500d6_***_Michael Gravenor
83efcf2a9dfcf8b55586999d3d152ac6_***_Ronan Lyons
84f5661b35a729f55047f9e793d8798b_***_Sinead Brophy
author Emily Marchant
Lucy Griffiths
Tom Crick
Rich Fry
Joe Hollinghurst
Michaela James
Laura Cowley
Hoda Abbasizanjani
Fatemeh Torabi
Jonathan Kennedy
Ashley Akbari
Michael Gravenor
Ronan Lyons
Sinead Brophy
author2 Emily Marchant
Lucy Griffiths
Tom Crick
Rich Fry
Joe Hollinghurst
Michaela James
Laura Cowley
Hoda Abbasizanjani
Fatemeh Torabi
Daniel A. Thompson
Jonathan Kennedy
Ashley Akbari
Michael Gravenor
Ronan Lyons
Sinead Brophy
format Journal article
container_title PLOS ONE
container_volume 17
container_issue 2
container_start_page e0264023
publishDate 2022
institution Swansea University
issn 1932-6203
doi_str_mv 10.1371/journal.pone.0264023
publisher Public Library of Science (PLoS)
college_str Swansea University Medical School
hierarchytype
hierarchy_top_id swanseauniversitymedicalschool
hierarchy_top_title Swansea University Medical School
hierarchy_parent_id swanseauniversitymedicalschool
hierarchy_parent_title Swansea University Medical School
department_str Medicine{{{_:::_}}}Swansea University Medical School{{{_:::_}}}Medicine
document_store_str 1
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description IntroductionSchool-based COVID-19 mitigation strategies have greatly impacted the primary school day (children aged 3–11) including: wearing face coverings, two metre distancing, no mixing of children, and no breakfast clubs or extra-curricular activities. This study examines these mitigation measures and association with COVID-19 infection, respiratory infection, and school staff wellbeing between October to December 2020 in Wales, UK.MethodsA school staff survey captured self-reported COVID-19 mitigation measures in the school, participant anxiety and depression, and open-text responses regarding experiences of teaching and implementing measures. These survey responses were linked to national-scale COVID-19 test results data to examine association of measures in the school and the likelihood of a positive (staff or pupil) COVID-19 case in the school (clustered by school, adjusted for school size and free school meals using logistic regression). Linkage was conducted through the SAIL (Secure Anonymised Information Linkage) Databank.ResultsResponses were obtained from 353 participants from 59 primary schools within 15 of 22 local authorities. Having more direct non-household contacts was associated with a higher likelihood of COVID-19 positive case in the school (1–5 contacts compared to none, OR 2.89 (1.01, 8.31)) and a trend to more self-reported cold symptoms. Staff face covering was not associated with a lower odds of school COVID-19 cases (mask vs. no covering OR 2.82 (1.11, 7.14)) and was associated with higher self-reported cold symptoms. School staff reported the impacts of wearing face coverings on teaching, including having to stand closer to pupils and raise their voices to be heard. 67.1% were not able to implement two metre social distancing from pupils. We did not find evidence that maintaining a two metre distance was associated with lower rates of COVID-19 in the school.ConclusionsImplementing, adhering to and evaluating COVID-19 mitigation guidelines is challenging in primary school settings. Our findings suggest that reducing non-household direct contacts lowers infection rates. There was no evidence that face coverings, two metre social distancing or stopping children mixing was associated with lower odds of COVID-19 or cold infection rates in the school. Primary school staff found teaching challenging during COVID-19 restrictions, especially for younger learners and those with additional learning needs.
published_date 2022-02-28T11:20:31Z
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