Missing classes ‘more damaging’ than Covid: Johnson urges parents to send kids back to school as govt warns of fines for absence

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has called on parents to allow their children to go back to school, insisting that continuing their education is “vitally important” and skipping classes is actually worse for kids than Covid-19.

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

The PM added that missing any more school would be “far more damaging” to kids than the coronavirus itself, claiming that the risk of contracting the virus in schools across the country was “very small.”

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A similar call was issued by UK Education Secretary Gavin Williamson, who encouraged parents send kids back to reopened schools. The government has also indicated there will be other ‘incentives’ for the move, with Williamson saying that “fining would be very much the last resort” to convince the most coronavirus-wary people to allow their children back to educational facilities.

The comments follow a report released by the chief medical officers of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland on Sunday, warning of the long-term physical and mental health consequences for children who are absent from school for too long. Meanwhile, Public Health England has said that only some 70 children and 128 school staff contracted the virus in June, when the country’s schools were partially reopened.

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The UK has registered more than 328,000 coronavirus cases and over 41,500 deaths. While the country endured a rapid surge in coronavirus cases several weeks ago, the number of new infections has dropped significantly since. As of now, the UK is no longer one of the ten worst-affected nations.

Worldwide, nearly 23.5 million people have contracted the dreaded disease and more than 800,000 people succumbed to it, according to the latest statistics from Johns Hopkins University (JHU) in the US.

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