Parents up and down the country have found themselves in yet another difficult situation as they balance the potential repercussions of keeping their child safe at home from coronavirus. The Education Secretary Gavin Williamson has insisted children go back to schools in most areas despite the heightened concern that keeping schools open is significantly contributing to the spread of coronavirus.
The Prime Minister has sought to quell worries, insisting it is safe for children to return to in-person education if their area permits it, despite the Education Secretary admitting that transmission is taking place in schools.
Mr Johnson said: “We have really fought very hard throughout this pandemic across the country to keep schools open for lots of reasons.
“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.
“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.”
Meanwhile, Mr Johnson signalled that despite vaccines “coming down the track in their tens of millions”, regional restrictions in England were likely to get tougher.
“What we are doing now is using the tiering system, which is a very tough system… and, alas, probably about to get tougher to keep things under control,” he said.
It comes as the NHS ramps up its vaccination programme with the newly approved Oxford University and AstraZeneca jab, with 530,000 doses available for rollout across the UK from Monday.
If the fine still remains unpaid after 28 days, parents can be prosecuted for their child’s absence from school.
A Department for Education spokesperson said during the November lockdown: “We are prioritising children’s and young people’s education and wellbeing, by keeping nurseries, schools, colleges and universities open.
“The Chief and Deputy Chief Medical Officers have highlighted the risks of not being in education on their development and mental health.
“Schools should work with families to ensure children are attending full time. As usual, fines will sit alongside this, but only as a last resort and where there is no valid reason for absence.”
What if my child is self-isolating?
This comes under the “good reason” category, and it is also mandatory to self isolate if you are told to by the Test and Trace system.