The Somerset Guardian, 12th August 2020

Last weekend, in an article written for the Mail on Sunday, the Prime Minister put forward his case for sending children back to school full-time from September.

In his piece, Boris Johnson argued that it was 'economically unsustainable and morally indefensible' to keep children at home and whilst he acknowledged that the pandemic is not finished and children's safety remains paramount there is, according to a leading child health expert, little evidence to suggest that going back to school would affect the statistics detrimentally because the virus has not been transmitted in schools. He added that if there were another spike pubs and shops would close before schools, giving extra weight to the Government's firm, sensible position.

The Premier's stance has been welcomed by regional leaders, including the Labour Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, who in spite of seeing this area badly affected by Coronavirus supports the practicality of this policy, having cited the mental and educational wellbeing of children and young people as being a priority. Boris Johnson went further:  "The less children are in school, the worse it is for their health... Most painfully of all, the costs of school closure have fallen disproportionately on the most disadvantaged, the very children who need school the most.”

I agree with the Prime Minister that children must return to school next month, not only for their welfare but also to relieve pressure on parents who need to go back to work. The 'new normal' is about adaptation - living with this virus until a vaccination or cure has been found and even then we are guaranteed no certainty. We cannot put our or, crucially, our children's lives on hold but can continue to move forward cautiously with optimism that things will start to improve soon.

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