Schools should be closed last if the second wave of COVID-19 infections forces the government to impose local or national lockdowns in the future, the Children's Commissioner for England, Anne Longfield, said on Wednesday
LONDON (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 05th August, 2020) Schools should be closed last if the second wave of COVID-19 infections forces the government to impose local or national lockdowns in the future, the Children's Commissioner for England, Anne Longfield, said on Wednesday.
"Education should be prioritised over other sectors: first to open, last to close. When only a limited amount of social interaction is feasible, the amount accounted for by education must be protected -at the expense of other sectors/activities," Longfield wrote.
Longfield admitted that the reduction of coronavirus transmission in the community was very important, but warned it should not be automatically assumed that this requires closing schools, "except as a last resort".
After stressing that children play a smaller role in spreading COVID-19 and are less likely to get ill from the disease, compared to adults, Longfield advised that any measures taken must take into account their particular needs and circumstances.
The commissioner's briefing paper came to light 24 hours after a modeling study published in The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health warns the current UK testing and contact system will be ineffective to prevent a second wave of the virus when schools reopen in September.
Government officials have said the reopening of schools in September is not up for debate, although recent spikes in coronavirus cases have led to the reimposition of local lockdown measures in some parts of England and Scotland.