Rapid communication Open Access
Like 0


Easing of COVID-19 restrictions in England in the summer of 2021 was followed by a sharp rise in cases among school-aged children. Weekly rates of SARS-CoV-2 infection in primary and secondary school children reached 733.3 and 1,664.7/100,000 population, respectively, by week 39 2021. A surge in household clusters with school-aged index cases was noted at the start of the school term, with secondary cases predominantly in children aged 5–15 years and adults aged 30–49 years.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...



  1. United Kingdom Government. (GOV.UK). Weekly national Influenza and COVID-19 surveillance report. Week 29 report (up to week 28 data). London: GOV.UK; 2021. Available from: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1005056/Weekly_Flu_and_COVID-19_report_w29.pdf
  2. United Kingdom Government. (GOV.UK). Department for Education. Schools COVID-19 operational guidance. London: GOV.UK; 2021. Available from: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/schools-covid-19-operational-guidance
  3. United Kingdom Government. (GOV.UK). Table 1B - Daily attendance in education settings during the COVID-19 outbreak (excludes schools holiday dates). London: GOV.UK; 2021. Available from: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/data-catalogue/attendance-in-education-and-early-years-settings-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak/2021-week-42
  4. Chudasama DY, Milbourn H, Nsonwu O, Senyah F, Florence I, Cook B, et al. Penetration and impact of COVID-19 in long term care facilities in England: population surveillance study. Int J Epidemiol. 2021;dyab176. PMID: 34468729 
  5. UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA). Weekly national Influenza and COVID-19 surveillance report Week 40 report (up to week 39 data) 2021. London: UKHSA; 2021. Available from: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1023910/Weekly_Flu_and_COVID-19_report_w40_v2.pdf
  6. NHS. NHS rolls out COVID-19 jab to children aged 12 to 15. London: NHS; 2021. Available from: https://www.england.nhs.uk/2021/09/nhs-rolls-out-covid-19-jab-to-children-aged-12-to-15
  7. UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA). Weekly Influenza and COVID 19 Surveillance graphs. London: UKHSA; 2021. Available from: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1025454/Weekly_COVID-19_and_Influenza_Surveillance_Graphs_w41_v2.pdf
  8. Office For National Statistics (ONS). Coronavirus (COVID-19) infection survey, UK. Newport: ONS; 2021. Available from: https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/healthandsocialcare/conditionsanddiseases/bulletins/coronaviruscovid19infectionsurveypilot/8october2021
  9. Aiano F, Mensah AA, McOwat K, Obi C, Vusirikala A, Powell AA, et al. COVID-19 outbreaks following full reopening of primary and secondary schools in England: Cross-sectional national surveillance, November 2020. Lancet Reg Health Eur. 2021;6:100120.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.lanepe.2021.100120  PMID: 34278370 
  10. Young BC, Eyre DW, Kendrick S, White C, Smith S, Beveridge G, et al. Daily testing for contacts of individuals with SARS-CoV-2 infection and attendance and SARS-CoV-2 transmission in English secondary schools and colleges: an open-label, cluster-randomised trial. Lancet. 2021;398(10307):1217-29.  https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(21)01908-5  PMID: 34534517 
  11. Allen H, Vusirikala A, Flannagan J, Twohig KA, Zaidi A, Chudasama D, et al. Household transmission of COVID-19 cases associated with SARS-CoV-2 delta variant (B.1.617.2): national case-control study. Lancet Reg Health Eur. 2021;00:100252.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.lanepe.2021.100252  PMID: 34729548 
  12. Ladhani SN, Baawuah F, Beckmann J, Okike IO, Ahmad S, Garstang J, et al. SARS-CoV-2 infection and transmission in primary schools in England in June-December, 2020 (sKIDs): an active, prospective surveillance study. Lancet Child Adolesc Health. 2021;5(6):417-27.  https://doi.org/10.1016/S2352-4642(21)00061-4  PMID: 33740430 
  13. D’Onofrio LE Jr, Buono FD, Cooper MAR. Cohabitation COVID-19 transmission rates in a United States suburban community: A retrospective study of familial infections. Public Health. 2021;192(30-32):30-2.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.puhe.2021.01.003  PMID: 33611168 
  14. Miller E, Waight PA, Andrews NJ, McOwat K, Brown KE, Höschler K, et al. Transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in the household setting: A prospective cohort study in children and adults in England. J Infect. 2021;83(4):483-9.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jinf.2021.07.037  PMID: 34348116 
  15. Cordery R, Reeves L, Zhou J, Rowan A, Watber P, Rosadas C, et al. Transmission of SARS-CoV-2 by children in schools and households: a prospective cohort and environmental sampling study in London. medRxiv. 2021. Preprint. https://doi.org/10.1101/2021.03.08.21252839
  16. Hall JA, Harris RJ, Zaidi A, Woodhall SC, Dabrera G, Dunbar JK. HOSTED-England’s Household Transmission Evaluation Dataset: preliminary findings from a novel passive surveillance system of COVID-19. Int J Epidemiol. 2021;50(3):743-52.  https://doi.org/10.1093/ije/dyab057  PMID: 33837417 
  17. United Kingdom Government. (GOV.UK). Guidance for contacts of people with confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) infection who do not live with the person. London: GOV.UK; 2021. Available from: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-for-contacts-of-people-with-possible-or-confirmed-coronavirus-covid-19-infection-who-do-not-live-with-the-person
  18. Tessier E, Rai Y, Clarke E, Lakhani A, Tsang C, Makwana A, et al. Characteristics associated with COVID-19 vaccine uptake among adults in England (08 December–17 May 2021). medRxiv. 2021. Preprint. https://doi.org/10.1101/2021.08.27.21262422
  19. Murdoch children's research institute (MCRI). Research Brief COVID-19 in Early Childhood Education and Care and Schools. Melbourne: MCRI; 2021. Available from: https://www.mcri.edu.au/sites/default/files/media/documents/covid-19_in_early_childhood_education_and_care_and_schools.pdf
  20. Viner R, Russell S, Saulle R, Croker H, Stansfeld C, Packer J, et al. Impacts of school closures on physical and mental health of children and young people: a systematic review. medRxiv. 2021. Preprint. https://doi.org/10.1101/2021.02.10.21251526
  21. United Kingdom Government. (GOV.UK). Attendance in education and early years settings during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. London: GOV.UK; 2021. Available from: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/attendance-in-education-and-early-years-settings-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak
  22. Budzyn SEPM, Panaggio MJ, Parks SE, Papazian M, Magid J, Eng M, et al. Pediatric COVID-19 cases in counties with and without school mask requirements - United States, July 1-September 4, 2021. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2021;70(39):1377-8.  https://doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm7039e3  PMID: 34591829 

Data & Media loading...

Submit comment
Comment moderation successfully completed
This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error