The rare joint statement by senior health advisers to the governments of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland represents a boost for UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who has said that the reintegration of children in school was a national priority.
Confidence in the government’s approach to schooling during the coronavirus pandemic took a hit last week when Education Minister Gavin Williamson was forced to embarrassingly turn around on exam results.
“Very few children or adolescents, if any, will suffer long-term harm from Covid-19 solely because of their education,” they said.
“This needs to be weighed against a certainty of long-term harm to many children and young people from not going to school,” marketing officials said in a joint statement released on Saturday August 22.
Evidence showed that a lack of schooling increased inequalities, reduced opportunities and could exacerbate physical and mental health problems, the statement said.
In contrast, there was clear evidence of a very low rate of serious illness in children, even if they caught Covid-19, and an unusually low risk of dying.