Sports stars including Tour de France winners Egan Bernal and Geraint Thomas, along with Sir Dave Brailsford, Sir Ben Ainslie and Patrick Vieira, have joined forces to launch ZERO Days for schools, a unique programme to help get children back to school safely and help avoid closures during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The ZERO Days programme aims to reduce the number of school days lost to preventable illness to zero.

To help achieve this goal, the programme is offering UK secondary schools a supply of teaching, video and display materials, integrated into lesson plans, to help schools to stay open in a Covid-19 world.

ZERO Days aims to help children stay in school with hygiene measures used by pro sports teams.
ZERO Days aims to help children stay in school with hygiene measures used by pro sports teams.

The core principle of the programme is Prepare, Protect, Control - a strategy based on 10 years of experience in elite sports teams:

  • Prepare by identifying and eliminating threats in a physical space.
  • Protect by stopping transmission and understanding how to maintain the highest hygiene standard.
  • Control by monitoring health and reporting illness immediately to stop transmission and regulating the use of space.

Working with teachers, the programme is designed to slot neatly into the curriculum to provide positive, informative science-based learning for schools.

The goal is to normalise new positive behaviour in the school community and reduce anxiety, which will be done by empowering children through knowledge.

Specialist education charity, the 1851 Trust, has created a range of educational assets, developed by science teachers, and freely available at

Sir Dave Brailsford, INEOS Grenadier Team Principal who has led the team to seven Tour de France victories, said: "Minimising the risk of avoidable illness is key to success in sport. Consequently, over the last ten years, we have developed a unique hygiene programme to protect our riders and staff based on the principles of Prepare, Protect, Control.

"Hygiene has now become critical for everyone in every part of their life - from sport and school to the workplace and home - as we are all facing new challenges.

"Through the ZERO Days schools programme, we are proud to be sharing this same expert knowledge and help teachers and pupils keep their schools open."

Dame Louise Makin, Chair of 1851 Trust, said: "Over the summer teachers have shared with us the challenges that they face as schools reopen and how important it will be for their pupils to feel safe. It's been a privilege for the 1851 Trust to partner with experts and elite sports stars to develop the ZERO Days programme.

"Working with teachers we have adapted everyday, world class protocols for schools to help educate young people as part of the curriculum. We now want the ZERO Days programme to be available to pupils in every secondary school to protect themselves and each other at school, and also at home and in their communities."

Find out more and access the ZERO Days resources at