education

Boris says ‘schools are safe’ and children should go back ‘where open’


The prime minister told parents schools are ‘safe’ and the risk to young people is minimal (Picture: BBC/Getty)

Parents of primary school pupils in England should send their children back to the classroom tomorrow morning if they can, urged the prime minister.

Boris Johnson moved to reassure the parents that schools are safe and the risk to young people of the new variant is ‘very, very small’.

When asked if the parents of young pupils should send them back to schools on Monday, he told the BBC Andrew Marr Show: ‘Absolutely they should – in the areas where schools are open.

‘And what we’re doing clearly is grappling with a new variant of the virus, which is surging particularly in London and the south east, and that’s why we’ve had to take exceptional measures in some parts to keep primary schools closed temporarily.

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‘Not something anybody wants to do, we’ve really fought very hard throughout the pandemic across the country to keep schools open.

‘For lots of reasons – schools are safe – very very important to stress that – the threat, the risk to kids, to young people is really very, very small indeed.’

He said parents should be guided by public health advice, adding: ‘Which at the moment is that schools are safe, where we’re not bing driven by the new variant, where children’s education is priority’.

He said Britons ‘have to be humble in the face of the impact of this new variant’, which means ‘we face a very difficult’ few weeks and months ahead until the vaccines ‘come on stream in a massive way’.

Talking about the surge of the mutant variant, he warned that ‘many parts of the country’ will be facing harsher restrictions, while the tier system is ‘probably about to get tougher’.

The PM insisted that closing schools was a last resort (Picture: AFP)

He added: ‘That’s why it’s necessary to take the tough action we’ve had on schools. It’s not something we relish… We’re entirely reconciled to do what it takes to get the virus down and that may involve tougher measures in the weeks ahead.’

It comes as the head of England’s schools watchdog said children’s education ‘cannot be furloughed’ amid school closures, after primary schools in 50 local authorities were told to remain closed next week.

Just a day later, it was announced that all of London’s primary schools would remain closed at the start of term instead of reopening on January 4.



Primary schools which will remain closed until further notice

There are 50 areas where primary schools will need to switch to remote learning for all but vulnerable children and those of key workers until at least January 18.

The local authorities where this guidance applies is:

London

  • Barking and Dagenham
  • Barnet
  • Bexley
  • Brent
  • Bromley
  • Croydon
  • Ealing
  • Enfield
  • Hammersmith and Fulham
  • Havering
  • Hillingdon
  • Hounslow
  • Kensington and Chelsea
  • Merton
  • Newham
  • Redbridge
  • Richmond-Upon-Thames
  • Southwark
  • Sutton
  • Tower Hamlets
  • Waltham Forest
  • Wandsworth
  • Westminster

Essex

  • Brentwood
  • Epping Forest
  • Castle Point
  • Basildon
  • Rochford
  • Harlow
  • Chelmsford
  • Braintree
  • Maldon
  • Southend on Sea
  • Thurrock

Kent

  • Dartford
  • Gravesham
  • Sevenoaks
  • Medway
  • Ashford
  • Maidstone
  • Tonbridge and Malling
  • Tunbridge Wells
  • Swale

East Sussex

Buckinghamshire

Hertfordshire

  • Watford
  • Broxbourne
  • Hertsmere
  • Three Rivers

This is a breaking news story, more to follow…

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