OBJECTIVES: To estimate occupation risk from COVID-19 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, 8 March-28 December 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic.
PARTICIPANTS: The total working age population in England and Wales plus those still working aged over 65 years.
PRIMARY AND SECONDARY OUTCOMES: Death with COVID-19 as a primary outcome and death from all causes as a secondary outcome.
RESULTS: Across occupational groups, there was a strong correlation between COVID-19 mortality and both non-COVID-19 and all-cause mortality. The absolute mortality rates for deaths with COVID-19 were low among 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: 9-50 per 100 000 in women; 10-143 per 100 000 in men). There was weak evidence that secondary school teachers had slightly higher risks of dying with COVID-19 compared with the average for all working-aged people, but stronger evidence of a higher risk compared with the average for all professionals; primary school teachers had a lower risk. All-cause mortality was also higher among all teachers compared with all professionals. Teaching and lunchtime assistants were not at higher risk of death from COVID-19 compared with all working-aged people.
CONCLUSION: There was weak evidence that COVID-19 mortality risk for secondary school teachers was above expectation, but in general school staff had COVID-19 mortality risks which were proportionate to their non-COVID-19 mortality risk.