ARE SCHOOLS SAFE?
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.