FILE PHOTO: A child gestures in a classroom at Watlington Primary School during the last day of school, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Watlington , Britain, July 17, 2020. REUTERS/Eddie Keogh/ Missing school is greater risk to kids than Covid-19
LONDON (Reuters) – The chief medical officers of the United Kingdom have said children should return to school after the summer holidays. They warn that missing out on their education, by missing school is greater risk, much bigger risks to them than catching COVID-19.
The rare joint statement came from the top health advisers to the governments of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. It represents a boost for British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. The Prime Minister had said, getting children back to school is a national priority. He now calls on parents to send their children back to school next month.
If Missing School Is Greater Risk To Kids Than Covid. Balancing Governance (Public Safety, Economic Recovery etc) Is A Risk With People’s Confidence
Confidence in the government’s approach to schooling during the coronavirus pandemic took a hit last week. This was when education minister, Gavin Williamson was forced into an embarrassing U-turn over examination results.
“Very few, if any, children or teenagers will come to long term harm from COVID-19 due solely to attending school,” they said. “This has to be set against a certainty of long-term harm to many children and young people from not attending school,” the CMOs said in a joint statement published late on Saturday.
“Missing school is greater risk not only to kids, but also to their parents. When kids return back to school, it brings some sense of normality to working parents.”
Evidence showed that a lack of schooling increased inequalities, reduced opportunities and could exacerbate physical and mental health issues, the statement said.
By contrast there was clear evidence of a very low rate of severe disease in children, even if they caught COVID-19, and an exceptionally low risk of dying.
What Hospitalisation Statistics Indicate
“The percentage of symptomatic cases requiring hospitalisation is estimated to be 0.1% for children aged 0-9 and 0.3% among those aged 10-19; compared to a hospitalisation rate of over 4% in the UK for the general population,” the statement said.
Johnson has said reopening schools in September is a social, economic and moral imperative. Insisting, they would be able to operate safely despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
Vaccines To The Risk? Not So Fast
Separately, England’s Chief Medical Officer was quoted as saying, it would be foolish to count on a coronavirus vaccine being ready for use this year.
“I think if we look forward a year. I think the chances are much greater than if we look forward six months. We need to have that sort of timescale in mind,” Chris Whitty told Sky News.
Nigeria and West Africa ‘Exit’ Examinations Continues in Full Swing
In Nigeria, the National Examinations Council (NECO) examination for students in year 9, started today across the country. Across West Africa, the 2020 West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) commenced on August 17. The West African Examinations Council (WAEC) had earlier released the timetable for the examination.
Missing school is greater risk not only to kids, but also to their parents. When kids return back to school, it brings some sense of normality to working parents. The pressures of staying safe in a pandemic, balancing worklife or searching for complementary home school support tech startups eases out. And so also, the risk on mental health and economic productivity.