In early 2020 many countries closed schools to mitigate the spread of SARS-CoV-2. Since then, governments have sought to relax the closures, engendering a need to understand associated risks. Using address records, we construct a network of schools in England connected through pupils who share households. We evaluate the risk of transmission between schools under different reopening scenarios. We show that whilst reopening select year-groups causes low risk of large-scale transmission, reopening secondary schools could result in outbreaks affecting up to 2.5 million households if unmitigated, highlighting the importance of careful monitoring and within-school infection control to avoid further school closures or other restrictions.


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Cite as

Munday, J., Sherratt, K., Meakin, S., Endo, A., Pearson, C., Hellewell, J., Abbott, S., Bosse, N., CMMID COVID-19 Working Group, Atkins, K., Wallinga, J., Edmunds, W., van Hoek, A. & Funk, S. 2021, 'Implications of the school-household network structure on SARS-CoV-2 transmission under school reopening strategies in England', Nature Communications, 12, article no: 1942. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-021-22213-0

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Last updated: 30 June 2023
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