It is vitally important to get children back into schools after the lengthy COVID-19 lockdown as being kept away from classrooms for a longer period would be far more damaging than the deadly virus, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in a direct appeal to parents on Monday.
His appeal comes as different parts of the country prepare for the end of the summer break and the start of a new school term, with Scotland and Northern Ireland first in line followed by England and Wales from next week.
Reiterating a joint statement issued by England's Chief Medical Officer (CMO) and his counterparts from different parts of the United Kingdom over the weekend, Johnson said the risk posed to children from the deadly virus is very small and being kept away from classrooms any longer would be far more damaging to their well-being.
"As the chief medical officer has said, the risk of contracting COVID-19 in school is very small and it is far more damaging for a child's development and their health and well-being to be away from school any longer," Johnson said in a statement from Downing Street.
This is why it's vitally important that we get our children back into the classroom to learn and to be with their friends. Nothing will have a greater effect on the life chances of our children than returning to school, Johnson, a COVID-19 survivor, said.
"I have previously spoken about the moral duty to reopen schools to all pupils safely, and I would like to thank the school staff who have spent the summer months making classrooms COVID-secure in preparation for a full return in September.