Earlier today, Boris Johnson said parents should ‘absolutely’ send their kids back to schools tomorrow in areas where they are open.
Speaking on The Andrew Marr Show this morning, the Prime Minister said: “Yes, absolutely they should in areas where schools are open.
“What we are doing, clearly, is grappling with a new variant of coronavirus which is surging particularly in London and the South East.
“And that is why we have had to take exceptional measures.”
Asked if he would take legal action against councils which have decided not to reopen primary schools, the Prime Minister said: “We’ll work very hard with authorities across the country to get our message across that we think schools are safe; that schools are safe, there’s absolutely no doubt about it.
“I understand people’s frustrations, I understand people’s anxieties but there is no doubt in my mind that schools are safe and that education is a priority.
“And if you think about the history of the pandemic, we’ve kept schools going for a long, long time in areas where the pandemic has really been at really high levels.”
Mr Johnson added: “We will keep this under constant review but we will be driven by public health considerations and by the massive importance of education.”
He continued: “Schools are safe. It is very, very important to stress that. The risk to kids, to young people is really very, very small indeed. The risk to staff is very small.
How many cases of Covid-19 are there where you live?
“I would advise all parents thinking about want to do, look at where your area is, overwhelmingly you’ll be in a part of the country where primary schools tomorrow will be open.”
Latest data shows the UK has seen 50,000 or more cases five days in a row, and many parents have expressed their fears about sending their children back to school.
Can I keep my child off school?
According to government advice, your child can only miss school if:
- they’re too ill to go in
- you’ve got advance permission from the school
You can be given a fine if you do not send your child to school, which starts at £60 for each parent and rises to £120 if it is not paid within 21 days.
If the fine remains unpaid after 28 days, you may be prosecuted – which could see a fine of up to £2,500, a community order or a jail sentence of up to three months.
Local councils and schools can also use various legal powers, including giving you:
- a Parenting Order
- an Education Supervision Order
- a School Attendance Order