Coronavirus updates: Schools should reopen as soon as safe to do so, says doctors’ union



Schools should reopen “as soon as it is safe to do so”, the British Medical Association has said, despite ministers facing pressure to reconsider plans for some pupils to return to the classroom next month.

The BMA’s public health medicine committee chairman Dr Peter English said there was “growing evidence” that the risk to children from coronavirus is “extremely small” – but cautioned there is “no united view yet” on whether children can spread it.

The doctors’ union previously said the Government should not consider reopening schools in England until the case numbers are “much lower”.

Writing in the Daily Telegraph, Dr English said: “The decision about when schools should be allowed to reopen is an extremely difficult one.

“We know that the longer children are kept away from the classroom, the greater the harm to their education, life opportunities and wellbeing.

“For disadvantaged children, this harm is even greater. A focus on arbitrary dates for schools to reopen is polarising.

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“The BMA wants schools to reopen as soon as it is safe to do so and the evidence allows – this could be before June 1 or after. But a zero-risk approach is not possible. This is about ‘safe’ being an acceptable level of risk.”

A number of councils have advised their schools against reopening more widely to Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 pupils from June 1 amid safety concerns.

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