Opening schools is less about public health than politics by other means

Editorial: Coronavirus, as we’ve learned, recognises no borders, or morality, and the same worries as ever about the threat it poses still concern parents, teachers and indeed children

Sunday 09 August 2020 19:20
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The words “moral duty” do not sit easily with what we know of our prime minister. So he is, as usual, pushing his luck when he tells teachers that they must open up the schools as some sort of act of valour. In education, Boris Johnson’s authority, moral or otherwise, only applies in England, but the same push to get the classrooms going is still more urgent and emphatic in Scotland, as they return this week. Nicola Sturgeon, first minister, calls it a “moral imperative”. Wales and Northern Ireland will follow soon.

Coronavirus, as we’ve learnt, recognises no borders, or morality, and the same worries as ever about the threat it poses still concern parents, teachers and indeed children.

The point is this: if it was previously thought that schools were places where the virus was ideally placed to spread rapidly across households earlier in the year, and they were therefore mostly closed down, what has changed? Why now is there this urgency, sense of moral purpose and priority?

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