Bristol University leads research project aiming to limit coronavirus transmission in schools

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The research will also explore the mental wellbeing of pupils and staff. Credit: ITV News

The University of Bristol will lead a £2.7 million research project into keeping pupils and staff safe when they return to school this autumn.

The ground-breaking project will develop systems to help schools prevent and cope with an outbreak of coronavirus and assess strategies to support the mental wellbeing of the school community.

Working with Bristol City Council, Public Health England and local schools the researchers will test for infection in schools for staff and pupils.

Children with COVID-19 often show no obvious symptoms. Credit: ITV News

Infection patterns will then be mapped across the city to highlight areas that may need more support.

The Germ Defence app, which currently gives practical advice to adults to reduce infection spread in the home, will be adapted for use by children, teachers and parents in schools to help everyone reduce the infection rate.

Researchers will also explore the mental wellbeing of pupils and staff as they re-adjust to school life, and examine school approaches.

There is very little scientific evidence on the transmission of COVID-19 in schools. Credit: ITV News

The research findings hope to create new tools to help schools deal with an outbreak of COVID-19.

Caroline Relton, Professor of Epigenetic Epidemiology at Bristol Medical School, said: "This study proposes to combine measures of current and previous coronavirus infection as well as working with schools to enhance approaches to prevent and control infection."

St Mary Redcliffe and Temple School in Bristol is one of the schools taking part in the project. Headteacher, Elisabeth Gilpin said: "I am really excited to be involved in the design of a project to help ensure that students and staff can be as safe as possible in school."

As part of the project, students will be appointed from every school to promote the study and have the opportunity to meet with students from other schools.

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