With new evidence coming to light to suggest that school closures have had little impact on the virus spread, will schools reopen after Easter?
The question of whether schools will reopen after Easter has been thrown into the conversation about coronavirus this week, as a new study revealed that school closures have had a minimal impact on the spread of the virus.
However, a recent study from University College London (UCL) revealed that school closures alone only had the potential ability to reduce deaths by two to four per cent amid the outbreak, which is less than other social distancing measures currently being undertaken.
Researchers from the university suggested that less disruptive social distancing methods in schools, such as closing playgrounds and increasing spacing between students in class would be more beneficial than enforcing full school closures.
Professor of adolescent health at the UCL Institute of Child Health says, “We know from previous studies that school closures are likely to have the greatest effect if the virus has low transmissibility and attack rates are higher in children. This is the opposite of COVID-19.”
Now we know this, experts are considering when schools should open again in the UK.
Will schools reopen after Easter?
So are schools going back after Easter? As we come up to the three-week mark of lockdown in the UK, many parents are hoping that by the end of the Easter holidays, their children may be able to return to school.
An unnamed senior government minister told the Times that schools could reopen sooner than expected if the lockdown measure, currently in place, starts to trigger a “flattening of the curve” in the number of infections.
They said, “We need to be led by the science, of course. But if we can reopen schools after the Easter holidays things could begin to get back to normal. It could kick-start the economy.”
For the time being though, we currently don’t know exactly when schools will be able to reopen – and whether that will happen directly after the Easter holidays. So that means sticking to homeschooling and coping with kids at home, all the time, for now.
Why aren’t schools able to go back now?
For schools to be able to reopen, there needs to be a noticeable drop in coronavirus cases in the UK.
As London mayor Sadiq Khan told the BBC Radio Four programme today [April 8], the “peak” of the virus would need to be reached before lockdown could be ended. He said, “I think we’re nowhere near lifting the lockdown.
“I speak to experts regularly, in fact after this I’ll have another call with Public Health England and NHS London experts. We think the peak which is the worst part of the virus is still probably a week and half away.”
Therefore, the government is unlikely to suggest that that schools will reopen soon or that the nation will be able to leave lockdown on Monday, as the number of cases across the UK is continuing to rise daily.