Elementary school children could be ‘resistant’ to Covid as ministers consider...

PRIMARY schoolchildren could be “resistant” to the coronavirus and return to school, experts said.

Boris Johnson said yesterday he hopes to be able to ease some lockdown restrictions in three weeks as ministers consider reopening schools.

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There are “good reasons” for the reopening of primary schoolsCrédits: Getty Images – Getty

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Ministers reflect on reopening schools “in stages”Credit: PA

Studies from Public Health England have pressured the Prime Minister to reopen schools for younger students, after discovering there was a “strong case” to bring children back behind desks.

Primary school students are “resistant” to the surge in the number of coronavirus cases and play a small role in the spread of new infections, experts concluded.

Only 3% of primary schools have experienced coronavirus outbreaks, although the number of new infections has jumped across the UK as the second wave gripped the country.

PHE Schools Chief Investigator Shamez Ladhani said, “Everything we’ve learned from the summer semester and recent fall semester indicates that they are sure to stay open.

But, PHE found that high schools were five times more likely to have outbreaks and may have to wait longer to reopen.

The studies looked at age data in all confirmed cases, looked at outbreaks of two or more cases, and performed random swab and antibody testing against the coronavirus.

The results revealed that young children are much less likely to catch and spread the virus.

It follows hopes the prime minister could start reopening schools for younger kids as he faces an inter-party revolt if he keeps students learning from home.

Dr Ladhani said: “There are good reasons for primary schools to reopen once infection rates start to drop and are low enough to allow for an easing of national lockdowns.

Evidence is mounting to show that primaries are a safe environment.

And he added that by “early February”, experts will have a “better indication” as to whether the opening of the primaries is a “realistic option”.

Mr Johnson has vowed to review the measures on February 15 if ministers meet their goal of vaccinating 13 million most vulnerable Britons.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said last night the UK was on track to vaccinate those most at risk, hailing the NHS record of delivering 250 vaccines per minute.

Ministers are examining proposals for a “gradual return” to schools.

Although the PM refused to guarantee that the children will be back in class before Easter, it is understood that the government is considering “all options” to reopen the class.

Whitehall insiders have insisted that schools will be “the first” thing to reopen when the lockdown is eased.

But they stressed that the final decision would be up to scientists, and that it all comes down to sufficiently reducing Covid infection rates, hospitalizations and deaths.

One option would be to reopen schools for elementary school children first, as it is so much more difficult for them to work from home in Zoom.

The education ministry is also considering partially reopening secondary schools so that children in grades 10 and 12 – who take exams next year – return first.

While they could reopen schools everywhere except in Covid hotspots as part of a phased return to class.

BACKBENCH REBELLION

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson is rushed to the House of Commons today to be toasted by MPs on his roadmap to unlocking schools.

He is ready to get a pounding from all sides as Tory backbenchers unite with the Labor Party to demand more details on how schools will be reopened.

He is expected to tell teachers in a few days whether schools will remain physically open during the February semester for key workers and vulnerable children.

Mr Williamson has promised to give families two weeks’ notice before the schools reopen.

And in a bid to quell the growing fury from MPs and parents, the Prime Minister has said they “shouldn’t assume” that children won’t be back to school before Easter.

Boris Johnson has said he hopes to start easing the lockdown in three weeks – starting with some children returning to classrooms outside of Covid hotspots.

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Education Secretary Gavin Williamson says he wants “to see all the children go back to school as soon as possible”

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