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Schools will NOT reopen this month despite reports, Downing Street says

Schools will NOT reopen this month despite report cabinet has been considering plans to allow teaching to resume, Downing Street says

  • Downing Street has denied claims that schools could reopen before end of May
  • The Cabinet had reportedly been mulling over plans to allow teaching to resume 
  • No10 spokesman denied reports, saying ‘it’s too early to know when peak will be’
  • Research suggests school closures do not have a big impact on virus death toll 

Downing Street has denied claims that schools could reopen before the end of the month.

The Cabinet had reportedly been mulling over plans to allow teaching to resume for the summer term.

The Times had quoted a senior minister saying, ‘If we can reopen schools after the Easter holidays things could begin to get back to normal’.

But asked about the report yesterday, a No 10 spokesman said: ‘It’s too early to say when the peak [of the contagion] is going to be.

‘Our focus for now needs to be relentlessly on stopping the transmission of this disease while building capacity in the NHS. That is how we will save lives.’

A classroom lays dormant at Oldfield Brow Primary School during the coronavirus lockdown

The school bell sits dormant on a window sill at Oldfield Brow Primary School

The school bell sits dormant on a window sill at Oldfield Brow Primary School

Schools have been shut except for the children of key workers and those in a vulnerable situation, and GCSEs and A Levels cancelled.

Pressure has been growing on the Government to plan for when schools will reopen. Research has claimed school closures do not have a significant impact on the virus death toll.

Asked when schools could reopen, Chancellor Rishi Sunak said yesterday: ‘In all these instances, we are driven and basing our decisions on the science and what is best for controlling the spread of this virus.’

Researchers found that school closures alone were predicted to reduce deaths by around 2% to 4% amid the Covid-19 outbreak in the UK, which is less than other social distancing measures.

Oldfield Brow Primary School, as children of key workers take part in school activities

Oldfield Brow Primary School, as children of key workers take part in school activities

UCL academics analysed 16 studies – which included articles on severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars), as well as a report on Covid-19 in the UK.

The study in the Lancet Child & Adolescent Health journal suggests that school closures did not contribute to the control of the Sars epidemic in China, Hong Kong and Singapore in 2003.

It also found that school closure, as an isolated measure, has a limited impact during a Covid-19 outbreak, whereas other control measures, such as case isolation, are more effective.

Researchers added that the ‘economic costs and potential harms’ of mass school closures are very high – especially for the most disadvantaged children.

Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said: ‘These findings demonstrate that the Government must keep the decision to close schools under review.

‘It is certainly the case that a prolonged shutdown will damage the education of children and it is likely that those from disadvantaged backgrounds will suffer the most.’

Children of key workers take part in school activities at Oldfield Brow Primary School

Children of key workers take part in school activities at Oldfield Brow Primary School

But Professor Neil Ferguson, author of the influential report which warned of mass deaths if the UK did not introduce strict controls, said closures play ‘an important role in severing remaining contacts between households and thus ensuring transmission declines.

‘While this new paper reviews some of the modelling our group undertook of school closure for less intensive mitigation, it did not include our results for school closure in combination with other lockdown measures.’ 

Schools have been shut except for the children of key workers and those in a vulnerable situation, and GCSEs and A Levels cancelled. 

Pressure has been growing on the Government to plan for when schools will reopen. 

Research has claimed school closures do not have a significant impact on the virus death toll. 

Asked when schools could reopen, Chancellor Rishi Sunak said yesterday: ‘In all these instances, we are driven and basing our decisions on thescience and what is best for controlling the spread of this virus.’

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk