Reopening schools: Four barriers that should not be overlooked

02 April 2020
Volume 1 · Issue 2


On the 10th of May, the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson announced his ambition to start reopening schools in June, starting with Reception, year 1 and year 6. Dr Robin Bevan says we cannot make plans until we know why schools are being re-opened and until we find solutions to four key challenges that are at risk of being overlooked.

I am not alone in looking forward to having a full complement of pupils back in school, actively learning, socialising and being socialised.

Naturally, it would make sense to open schools and colleges fully at the point where the prevalence, impact and risks associated with COVID-19 are minimal. If all precautionary measures have been relaxed, then full provision of state schooling is logical and desirable.

However, this leads us to a natural question: why open schools prior to this point?

It is not a facetious or ‘blocking’ question: it is a real and fundamental desire to know what we are trying to achieve, because it is not until you declare why schools are opening further at an earlier stage of the ‘exit strategy’ that you can decide—assuming that any opening is partial or phased, which the education secretary last week said it would be—which groups of learners should be accommodated on site and in what patterns.

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