Coronavirus: national priority “to get children back to school, but scientists warn this could require compromises | UK News


Shadow Health Secretary Jonathan Ashworth said getting children back into the classroom was a “national priority” as scientists warned there could be trade-offs to be made for schools to reopen.

Mr Ashworth warned of “the long-term impact of children who are out of school for months, months and months”.

“It has an impact on their chances in life, it has an impact on their learning and development, but also it probably leads to a lot of long-term health problems and not related to the virus,” he said. .

Shadow Health Secretary Jonathan Ashworth warned of the impact

Most schools closed at the end of March as the UK went into lockdown, although many remained open only for children of primary workers and vulnerable pupils.

More pupils were allowed to return to schools in England and Wales last month.

More than half of the students struggled to learn at home during the lockdown, according to an investigation by the Bureau of National Statistics, raising concerns about the continued closure of schools.

The shadow health secretary said the government should use the next four weeks “wisely” to ensure the return of schools in September.

“We need to get our children back to school, but that is why it is even more urgent to use these four weeks of August to do all we can as a nation to fight this virus and prepare for it. autumn “. he said.

England’s chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty on Friday warned that compromises might be needed for all schools to reopen, saying the country had “probably reached near the limit or limits” of what can be made to reopen society.

The government’s science advisory group, SAGE, also said that “sufficient leeway” is needed in the rate of COVID-19[feminine[feminine infections.

“Do we never open schools until there is a vaccine?

SAGE member Professor Graham Medley said England may need to consider closing pubs so schools can reopen.

Asked about Professor Whitty’s comments, he told BBC Radio 4’s Today program: “I think it’s very possible.

“I think we are in a situation where most people think that opening schools is a priority for the health and well-being of children and that when we do, we will reconnect many households. ”

He added: “It could come down to a question of what tradeoffs are you making against each other, and then it’s a matter of prioritizing, do we think pubs are more important than schools? ”

Minutes released by SAGE reveal that the reopening of schools has been discussed several times by the panel, with the panel saying on June 23 that “it may be necessary to change measures at the end of summer. in order to be able to maintain R below 1 while proceeding with the planned reopening of schools “.

However, the group said the spread of coronavirus from children to adults “appears to be low” and outbreaks in schools “are extensions of community outbreaks and include small numbers, rather than indicating that schools are high risk settings.”

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There were fears that a second wave could spread across the UK, and SAGE warned him ” do not trust ” the R number is currently lower than the crucial 1 in England.

The latest estimate places the R-number, which refers to the average number of people an infected person transmits the virus to, between 0.8-0.9. However, this refers to the transmission of the coronavirus several weeks ago.

Some local lockdown measures were announced this week in parts of northwest England and West Yorkshire, following a spike in infections.

In the UK, another 120 people are believed to have died from coronavirus on Friday, bringing the total to 46,119, according to government figures.


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