First News

ARE SCHOOLS SAFE?

- Society · Education · Parenting · Family · Scotland · Gavin Williamson · United Kingdom · England · Anne Longfield

PRIME Min­is­ter Boris John­son has said the re­open­ing of schools in Eng­land next month is a “na­tional pri­or­ity”.

The PM says it is a “moral duty” to make sure all kids can safely get back into the class­room in Sep­tem­ber. In Scot­land, where the au­tumn term starts in Au­gust, schools have be­gun re­open­ing in phases. By 18 Au­gust, ev­ery Scot­tish school is ex­pected to be open. All Welsh schools are ex­pected to be open to pupils from Sep­tem­ber.

In a news­pa­per ar­ti­cle, Mr John­son said it was “cru­cial” to get full-time ed­u­ca­tion up and run­ning again, for chil­dren’s “wel­fare, their health and for their fu­ture”. He said that time spent out of the class­room can have a neg­a­tive ef­fect on kids’ phys­i­cal health, learn­ing and their life op­por­tu­ni­ties.

Ed­u­ca­tion Sec­re­tary Gavin Wil­liamson said that COVID-19 is un­likely to spread in the class­room, so it is safe to re­open schools. Pro­fes­sor Rus­sell Viner, an ex­pert in child health and a Govern­ment ad­viser, said that re­search car­ried out in 100 UK schools showed “there is very lit­tle ev­i­dence” of coro­n­avirus trans­mis­sion in schools. But other stud­ies from around the world have shown chil­dren might trans­mit the virus to oth­ers, es­pe­cially older kids in sec­ondary school.

The Chil­dren’s Com­mis­sioner for Eng­land, Anne Long­field, called on the Govern­ment to test chil­dren in schools reg­u­larly for COVID-19 “to en­sure the in­fec­tion is caught and iden­ti­fied as soon as pos­si­ble”. But the Govern­ment has re­jected the idea, say­ing test­ing will only take place if kids have symp­toms.

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 ??  ?? Boris John­son poses in a Lon­don pri­mary school
Boris John­son poses in a Lon­don pri­mary school

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