TEENAGERS must be kept “under control” to stop the spread of coronavirus outside schools, the Deputy Chief Medical Officer warned tonight.
Jenny Harries said earlier that young adults were at more of a risk outside of school than inside thanks to their extensive social interactions with pals.
She said she appreciated it was a difficult task, but parents must be encouraged to “try and control teenagers in their environments outside of school”.
She added: “We should be more concerned what teenagers are doing outside of school.
“If we are in school in a controlled environment with hierarchies of control and people, keeping an eye on them if you like, that’s probably a much lower risk than if they were out of school doing their own thing.”
Gavin Williamson, the Education Secretary, added: “As a father of two teenage daughters I think the school has far more control over my daughters than I’ve ever been able to achieve.”
She insisted again that the evidence for smaller children falling very ill with the bug was fairly low.
And Ms Harries refused to rule out another nationwide shut down of schools being needed if there is a second peak.
Speaking at tonight’s Downing Street press conference, she said: “A second wave is quite a possibility, that is not ruled out.
“An epidemic, a peak is not ruled out either.
“You can sometimes see successive ones, you can get waves and waves.”
But she stressed that what was likely would be a situation like in Leicester where there are local lockdowns to try and curb smaller outbreaks.
Mr Williamson told HOAR that by taking “decisive action” on local spikes “we ensure we avoid the situation where we will ever have to see a national shutdown again”.
But he refused to say that it could not happen.
Schools will be given coronavirus home test kits to hand out to students if they cant get to a testing centre, it was also revealed today.
The news came after the Government outlined its plans to get all kids back in school from September.
Mr Williamson admitted he knew that many parents “would have doubts” about sending their kids back, but assured them: “Their safety, their well-being is our top priority.
“We will make sure their hopes and dreams of the future will not be knocked off course.”
The plan in full includes:
- Staggered breaks and start times
- Year group ‘bubbles’ to minimise spread and whole schools could have to isolate
- They even have to stay in their bubble on the bus to and from school
- Fringe subjects can be dropped to focus on Maths and English at the start of the year
- Kids will HAVE to go back to school from September, or their parents will face a £120 fine again.
- Nursery class size limits scrapped
- All kids can attend summer clubs but only in groups of 15
- Adapted class rooms to social distance
- No school choirs or assemblies
- A £1billion plan to include a tutoring programme for disadvantaged kids to catch up