Worried parents keeping kids home despite low risk are damaging their education, deputy CMO warns
WORRIED parents keeping kids at home when there’s such a low risk of catching coronavirus are damaging their education, the Deputy Chief Medical Officer has warned.
Jenny Harries said today that there are a “very large number of children who are not going to school because parents are concerned.”
Kids with low level asthma and other mild problems should not be shielding at home and must get back to the classroom, she stressed.
It came as Matt Hancock announced that people who were shielding would be allowed to start returning to normal life from next month.
They will be able to form bubbles with other households and see people at a 2m distance too.
And concerned parents should let their kids return to school or risk problems later in life for their learning, Ms Harries warned.
11 children in the UK have died from the disease, and only 36 have been in intensive care.
She told the No10 press conference today: “Those children are at a very, very, low risk from Covid.
They are probably at a very, very significant risk of getting left behind in their education.
“In terms of their long terms outcomes, that would be far worse.”
By September she said that most kids will be back and school and very few kids should be shielding.
Children in reception, year one and year six are currently back to class in primary schools, with classes kept in “bubbles” where they don’t need to social distance, but must social distance from other students.
But all other year groups are still learning at home.
Year 10 and 12 are getting some contact time with teachers, but no formal lessons.
The PM is set to reduce the 2m rule this week, which will mean more kids will be able to return to the classrooms.
Former Education Secretary Lord Blunkett told The Daily Telegraph today it was “imperative that every effort was made” and demanded the PM stop treating kids’ schooling like a “secondary issue”.
He said: “If we could get three weeks of education before the break, that would be a major plus and it would restore confidence across the board that there is real intent to do this.”
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The Government wants every child to be back by September.
While visiting a school last week, Boris Johnson said that as coronavirus “diminishes among us” and the alert level came down England could make “progress on our plan and social distancing measures”.
He added: “Watch this space. We will be putting in further changes the science allows.”
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