Boris Johnson has urged local authorities to keep schools open even if local lockdowns are imposed.
Responding to the growing tension around children returning to schools in September, Boris Johnson said today that he hoped schools would not be forced to close as a result of local action – but has not ruled it out.
The Prime Minister, who was visiting a school in east London, said: “I very much hope that doesn’t happen for any pupils but clearly what we are doing – the way we are trying to manage the Covid pandemic – is to have local measures in place and local test and trace to introduce restrictions where that’s necessary.
“But, as we have all said, the last thing we want to do is to close schools.
“We think that education is the priority for the country and that is simple social justice.”
A rota system for schools which would see pupils attend on a week on-week off basis would make “very little difference” to the overall Covid-19 infection rate, a leading scientist has said.
Professor Russell Viner, the president of the Royal College of Pediatrics and Child Health who sits on the Government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies, said young children were “very minor players” in the spread of the virus.
It came as Geoff Barton, the general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, warned that schools were “losing patience” with the Government’s demands to have all children back in school next month, but with no official backup plan in place if this was not possible.
He said: “If you want to limit the number of children on site or travelling to and from school, a big part of that is using rotas and the obvious way to do it is ‘week on, week off ’
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