A major research being considered by the government shows that coronavirus does not spread widely in schools. The study looked at 18 infected students from 15 different schools in Australia and found that the spread of the virus is only "limited" in classrooms.
According to the Telegraph, despite being in close contact with 863 people at the schools, only two got infected from the virus. Schools are scheduled to reopen this June 1 for children in reception, Year 1 and Year 6.
Should Children Return to School?
Government scientific advisers are now looking at the Australian study, saying that it was an instrumental and exciting piece of research, according to a senior member of the SAGE committee on schools. They cited the Australian study when they announced that children should return to school.
According to the researchers, children are not the primary drivers of COVID-19 spread in neither the schools nor the community.
The news came out after the Church of England warned children would suffer if they are unable to go back to school. It was then followed by a report from the Fiscal Studies suggesting that the pandemic risks widening the educational gap of the rich and the poor since well-off households are spending an extra 75 minutes a day on educational activities.
As pressure mounts on teachers' unions to end their boycott against back-to-school plans, Cabinet minister Michael Grove told union leaders that if they really care about their children's welfare, they will want them to be in school.
Additionally, mental health experts explained that time away from friends would be damaging to the mental health of children.
Ministers are planning for a "phased" return that could see children in recession, Year 1, and Year 6 back to schools in England by June 1. To limit the risk of spreading the virus, pupils will be placed in smaller classes with staggered start times and lunch breaks.
But some teaching unions are against it, saying that they will only budge once they are convinced that children and teachers will be really safe to go back to the classrooms. Other people also said that they would recommend reopening after talks with Government experts.
Nonetheless, Mr. Gove insisted yesterday that it is absolutely safe for teachers and children to return to schools despite the growing tensions between ministers and union leaders, according to Daily Mail.
How will Children be Affected if they are Unable to Go Back to School?
Yesterday, the Church of England, which runs 25% of the country's primary schools, warned about how children will be affected if they are not able to go back to school. According to the Church's chief education officer, Reverend Nigel Genders, a prolonged period of staying at home will affect children's mental, spiritual, physical, and social well-being.
He added that they are most concerned about children with disadvantaged families and the potential for a widening in the attainment gap.
Furthermore, Paul Farmer from the mental health charity Mind said that children are missing their friends, as well as the peer contact that they have. Just as Reverend Genders, Farmer said that it would be best for their mental health to get back to their original cycle as soon as possible.