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Risk of death among teachers in England and Wales during the Covid19 pandemic

By Sarah J Lewis, Kyle Dack, Caroline L Relton, Marcus R Munafo, George Davey Smith

Posted 26 Feb 2021
medRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2021.02.23.21252143

Objectives: To estimate occupation risk from Covid19 among teachers and others working in schools using publicly available data on mortality in England and Wales. Design: Analysis of national death registration data from the Office for National Statistics. Setting: England and Wales, March 20th to 28th December 2020, during the Covid19 pandemic. Participants: The total working age population in England and Wales plus those still working aged over 65. Primary and Secondary outcomes: Death with Covid19 as a primary outcome and death from all causes as a secondary outcome. Results: Across occupational groups there was a strong correlation between Covid19 mortality and both non-Covid19 and all-cause mortality. The absolute mortality rates for deaths with Covid19 were low amongst those working in schools (from 10 per 100,000 in female primary school teachers to 39 per 100,000 male secondary school teachers) relative to many other occupations (range: 10 to 143 per 100,000 in men; 9 to 50 per 100,000 in women).There was weak evidence that secondary school teachers had slightly higher risks of dying with Covid19 compared to the average for all working aged people, but stronger evidence of a higher risk compared to the average for all professionals; primary school teachers had a lower risk. All-cause mortality was also higher amongst all teachers compared to all professionals. Teaching and lunchtime assistants were not at higher risk of death from Covid19 compared with all working aged people. Conclusion: There was weak evidence that Covid19 mortality risk for secondary school teachers was above expectation, but in general school staff had Covid19 mortality risks which were proportionate to their non-covid mortality risk.

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