UK leader urges parents to let their kids go back to school

LONDON (AP) — Britain’s Prime Minister is asking parents to set aside their fears and send their children back to school next month when schools in Britain fully re-open for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic shut down over five months ago.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said it was the government’s “moral duty” to re-open the schools as he stressed that authorities now know more about COVID-19 than they did when the country went into lockdown on March 23.

Johnson’s comments came hours after Britain’s top public health officials issued a joint statement saying that children were more likely be harmed by staying away from school than from being exposed to COVID-19.

“This is why it’s vitally important that we get our children back into the classroom to learn and to be with their friends,’’ Johnson said in a statement released on Sunday. “Nothing will have a greater effect on the life chances of our children than returning to school.”

The statements come as parents and teachers have expressed concerns about re-opening schools amid fears that social distancing measures won’t keep children safe. Unions have demanded that Johnson’s Conservative government make sure that social distancing measures and other protective procedures are in place to ensure the safety of students and staff.

Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson. PHOTO: AP