Boris Johnson has written an open letter to parents, published on social media, in an attempt to boost morale in lockdown.
He said that he wanted to personally thank the parents, carers and guardians of children for the pressures they’ve coped with over the last year – including homeschooling and childcare, alongside working from home.
“And by staying at home you are, quite literally, saving lives.”
In the open letter to parents, Boris Johnson said that parents and carers have been doing a great job and “while the the past 12 months have been tough for all of us, the demands of this pandemic have also brought out the very best in a great many people.”
“And I’m particularly in awe of the way parents, carers and guardians of children have risen to the unique challenges with which you have been faced.”
The prime minister and partner Carrie Symonds welcomed their first child together, Wilfred, in the midst of the pandemic in April last year.
“Whether you’ve been welcoming a baby into the world without all the usual support networks, finding new ways to entertain a restive five-year-old when the soft play centre is shut and playdates are but a distant memory, or steering a teenager through the emotional stresses and strains of these unprecedented times, you have been dealt the trickiest of hands yet played it magnificently.”
The government has previously been criticised for allowing nurseries to still open, while schools have shut, with rates of coronavirus currently at sky-high levels around the country.
Boris Johnson also claims in the letter that the government is “doing everything we can to support you”. This includes almost 900,000 laptops for homeschooling, to ensure that all children have access to online learning.
“We’ve already committed to getting free school meals out to everyone who needs them for as long as children are at home.” He said, after the government’s free school meals offering was branded ‘unacceptable’ by Marcus Rashford. “And when all this is over we’re going to be putting hundreds of millions of pounds into nationwide catch-up programmes so that nobody gets left behind.”
Before all this can happen though, the prime minister stresses in the letter, “the army of vaccinators” need time to get the “awful virus” under control.
“You are paving the way back to normality,” He says, “And you are, quite literally, saving lives. And for that, “I cannot thank you enough.”
The NHS has now vaccinated over 7 million people. This means the government is on track with their plan to give the first dose of the Pfizer or Oxford vaccine to all those over 80 and vulnerable to the virus by the middle of February.
It’s thought that after this time, some of the lockdown restrictions could be lifted.