MANY pupils across Britain are heading back to classrooms for the first time since the pandemic closed schools back in March.
There is often some anxiety about going back to school after the summer break, but fear about coronavirus is making it even harder this year for some children and families.
However, all of the UK’s chief medical officers put out a joint statement this week to reassure parents that it was safe to send their children back to school. They said “very few, if any” children and teenagers would come to long-term harm from the virus just by attending school, while there was a “certainty” of harm from not returning.
Dr Jenny Harries, the deputy chief medical officer for England, said she understood why parents and carers might be worried. But she said she wanted to reassure everyone that the risk to pupils is “very, very small”. And, she said what she has said before – if children do catch COVID-19, it tends to be very mild.
Dr Harries added that the “long-term harms of children not attending school” posed more of a danger than the virus, in a well-managed school environment.
Schools in Scotland reopened earlier this month. Northern Ireland welcomed pupils back on Monday, with English and Welsh schools opening the school gates again at the start of September.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson released a video saying: “It’s vitally important that we get our children back into the classroom to learn and to be with their friends. Nothing will have a greater effect on the life chances of our children than returning to school.”
Meanwhile, the National Education Union (NEU), which speaks for a lot of teachers, said it agreed it was good for children to return to school. But it is urging the Government to get extra teachers into schools, find more teaching space, give schools more money for cleaning, and have a clearer plan about what to do if there’s a spike in COVID-19 cases.