Schools should decide whether to reopen, says UK public health chief


A social distancing sign is seen as teacher Rhiannon Sharman makes preparations for Watlington Primary School to reopen to children on June 1, following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), Watlington, Britain, May 21, 2020. REUTERS/Eddie Keogh

LONDON (Reuters) – It should be for British schools to decide when to reopen following nationwide closures to stem the spread of the coronavirus and some have the confidence to do so, a senior health official said on Friday.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government wants schools in England to reopen for some pupils from June 1 but the plans have been criticised by teaching unions and many local authorities say they will not be reopening institutions in their areas.

“Ultimately, it will be for the schools to decide whether they are ready for this and whether parents have confidence that they will send the children back,” Yvonne Doyle, medical director and director for health protection at Public Health England, told parliament’s science committee.

“I am confident that some schools may already feel they are ready to open, others may not.”

Reporting by Michael Holden and Elizabeth Piper

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