Boris Johnson has said it is “vitally important” all English schools reopen next week and that he has a “moral duty” to ensure it happens.
The government has begun its push to get English schools back full time for the start of the academic year in September, despite local lockdowns in some areas.
Deputy chief medical officer Dr Jenny Harries spoke to several broadcast media outlets this morning to reassure people it was safe for children to attend school.
She said that “risk of seasonal flu” would be higher for children than coronavirus and that “every time a parent sends their children to school, pre-Covid, they may have been involved in a road traffic accident – there are all sorts of things”.
Johnson also took to Twitter to emphasise how important it was for children to get back into the classroom full time.
“As the chief medical officer [Chris Whitty] has said, the risk of contracting Covid-19 in school is very small and it is far more damaging for a child’s development and their health and well-being to be away from school any longer,” he said.
“This is why 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.”
Experts have said that the effect of pupils not returning to school in the coming year would have significant adverse future effects, particularly for children in lower socio-economic areas.
Whitty has said the risk posed to students from Covid-19 is less than the risk of them not attending school.
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has also said that children must return next month, but that the government’s “incompetence” puts this prospect in doubt.