PROFESSOR Chris Whitty is said to be “very unhappy” with Boris Johnsons’ plans for a “Big Bang”reopening of schools.
England’s chief medical officer is reportedly reluctant to personally support the policy this week.
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The Prime Minister is desperate to get the children back to school on March 8 after months of education lost due to the pandemic, stressing earlier this week that it was his “number one priority”.
Still, an educational source told the Guardian Professor Whitty was “very unhappy” with plans to return the 10 million children and staff to school in England on March 8.
They told the newspaper that they believed it could be fixed, adding, “# 10 will come up with wording that Whitty can live with.”
But a source from the Department of Education called the claim “absolute *** bulls,” while a government source also said it was “categorically false,” reports the Mail Online.
A government spokesperson said: “We know that schools, parents and students need clarity on plans as soon as possible, which is why we have pledged to give them two weeks’ notice so they can get it right. ‘they’re getting ready.
“The students will be back no earlier than March 8.”
This is categorically wrong
Downing Street spokesperson
On Monday, the Prime Minister will unveil his roadmap to lift the national lockdown rules in place since the start of the year, with a general return to class.
However, a coalition of education unions today demanded a “gradual return” to classrooms despite a dramatic drop in coronavirus infections.
A joint statement said: “This could trigger another spike in Covid infections, prolong the disruption in education and risk spoiling the hard-won progress in removing the virus during the last lockdown.
“What we do know is that a full reopening of schools will put around 10 million pupils and staff in England – almost a fifth of the population.
“It’s not a slight easing of the lockdown restrictions. It’s a massive step forward.”
The statement comes despite support from a number of health experts and epidemiologists for the schools to reopen on March 8.
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A report by the Legatum Institute think-tank released today found that Bringing all the children back to the classroom will have only a minor effect on the R-rate.
The think tank says the return of all children on March 8 will only result in 789 hospital admissions.
This is based on Sage scientists’ estimates that the R rate will increase from 0.2 to 0.5 when classrooms reopen.
And earlier this week, Professor Neil Ferguson said he expected all schools on March 8, as cases “cut in half” every two weeks.
The Imperial College scientist, who favors a cautious easing of the lockdown, said the dramatic drop in infections meant the government had “a bit of leeway” to send children back to class.
Meanwhile, schools in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales are taking a step-by-step approach to getting children back to school.
Covid deaths today are up 533, a 30% drop from the figure this time around last week.
Another 12,027 infections have been recorded in the past 24 hours, meaning 4,095,269 people have now tested positive for the virus in Britain since the start of the pandemic.
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