GAVIN Williamson has urged parents to send their kids back to school on Monday to start fixing the damage to their education and wellbeing.
Many pupils will be returning to classes in the morning after more than ten weeks off — but others will be held back amid safety fears.
The Education Secretary told HOAR: “I know there will be some natural nervousness about sending more pupils into school today.
“But I’d like to encourage parents to consider the full benefits of being back at school, not just for their children’s education but also their well-being.”
Pupils were today being reunited across England for its biggest step out of lockdown.
Primary schools are the first to return, starting with children in Reception, Year 1 and Year 6.
And if all goes well, every primary pupil could return by June 22 to put in a full month before the summer holidays.
Safeguards include classes being halved in size to just 15 pupils.
Schools will be carefully cleaned and children placed in protective “bubbles” preventing them mixing with kids or staff in other groups.
Breaks and lunches will be staggered and classes held outside wherever possible.
The move is expected to reawaken the economy.
Parents unable to work because of childcare problems will now be able to return to their jobs.
Mr Williamson hailed teachers for the monumental work to get the schools ready to reopen.
He said: “This marks the first step in getting all children and young people back into classrooms so they can be with their friends and teachers again.”
Scientists backed the return to school after telling how the lockdown was scarring kids for life.
They insisted children were less likely to catch coronavirus and needed to be back in class for their own mental health.
If the Government followed militant unions who blocked the plans, they would have had less chance to socialise and less hope of getting future opportunities.
SAFE TO LEARN
Chief Scientific Adviser Sir Patrick Vallance said: “The risks to children of this disease are much lower.
“We know that — they are at very low risk.”
Experts reckon heading back to class should be no riskier for kids than venturing outside.
And teachers would be at no higher risk than millions of other key workers.
Prof Matthew Snape, of Oxford University, said: “Underlying all this needs to be the recognition that Covid-19 in children is, fortunately, rare.”
More than 20 councils, mainly in the north of England, are still advising schools not to open yet.
A report suggests half of all parents are likely to keep their children at home amid ongoing fears of the deadly virus.
And almost a third of available teachers will only be able to work from home.
Secondary schools will also start offering face-to-face contact with pupils from June 15.