KIDS are now at greater risk staying at home than they are in school, an Education Minister has warned.
Nick Gibb said the harm done to children’s mental health of being cooped up and unable to see their pals are bigger than the “minimal” threat posed by coronavirus in the classroom.
He spoke out ahead of the publication of two Public Health England reports which are expected to suggest it is safe for kids to go back to school.
HOAR understands the first study will show that outbreaks in schools are “very, very rare”.
The second will say children are less likely to catch and spread Covid-19, and only suffer from a mild illness if they do get it.
Mr Gibb told Times Radio that kids are safest in the classroom.
He said: “It’s very important they do return in September for their education and mental wellbeing.
“Children need to be with their friends. The risk of not going to school now is greater than the minimal risks of going to school.”
Studies from across the world have already showed the rate of transmission from kids in classrooms is very low.
Fears began brewing over teens’ chance of passing on the virus after The Times reported a study from PHE suggested they were just as likely as adults to infect others.
Boris Johnson has vowed to get all kids back to class full time in September.
The PM is under massive pressure to meet the deadline after he U-turned on a pledge to get kids back to class before the summer.
He dropped the original promise in the face of massive opposition from hardline teaching unions.
Millions of kids will have spent a staggering six months away from the classroom in the schools shutdown.
A string of alarming studies have warned that many are doing basically no schoolwork at home at all during the lockdown.
Mr Johnson said yesterday there was a “moral duty” to make sure kids were back behind desks in September.
He said during a visit to a school: “It’s not right that kids should spend more time out of school, it’s much much better for their health and mental wellbeing, obviously their educational prospects, if everybody comes back to school full-time in September.”
But his promise to make sure schools reopen has been met by fresh opposition from unions who have laid down further demands before teachers go back to work.
The National Education Union has set out a checklist of covid-19 secure measures to its 500,000 members.
The PM insisted he would not be deterred and said everyone needed to work together to make sure kids are given priority.
He said: “It’s very important that everybody works together to ensure that our schools are safe and they are – they are Covid secure.
“I have been very impressed by the work that the teachers have done, working with the unions, to make sure that all schools are safe to go back to in September.”
One Labour peer is even doling out advice to teachers on how to get out of going back to school without breaking the law.