school coronavirus uk
The reopening of England's schools to all pupils on Monday will mark the first step back towards normality, and is only possible because of the efforts of the public to bring COVID-19 infection rates down, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said.

Johnson has announced a roadmap for lifting lockdown measures that sees schools open first, followed in later stages by the gradual easing of restrictions on mixing with other people and the re-opening of non-essential shops and other venues.

In the final stage, which will take place no earlier than June 21, the government hopes to remove all remaining legal limits on contact with others.

Comment: However, with furlough extended into September, it seems highly likely that the government is planning on reintroducing lockdown come autumn - if it's ever lifted, of course: Lockdown without end?

"The reopening of schools marks a truly national effort to beat this virus," Johnson said.

"It is because of the determination of every person in this country that we can start moving closer to a sense of normality - and it is right that getting our young people back into the classroom is the first step."

Comment: Children are at no clinically significant risk from coronavirus, and, unless they're showing symptoms, they're also not going to be infecting others, so what exactly is normal about healthy children being subjected to twice weekly, invasive swab tests and 6-plus hours of enforced mask wearing? Were parents to do this, it's likely they'd be accused of suffering from Munchausen syndrome by proxy .

Each step on the roadmap will depend on the level of COVID-19 cases, the government has said. It hopes the pandemic can be contained by a vaccine programme that has already delivered a dose to nearly 22 million people, as well as regular testing.

Comment: Therein lies the government's 'get back into lockdown' clause.

Many secondary schools and colleges had already started inviting students for their first "lateral flow" COVID-19 tests, which give rapid results, with nearly 1 million conducted last week, the government said.

After three initial tests on site, students will be provided with two tests to use each week at home, it said, adding that nearly 57 million tests had been delivered to schools and colleges across the country.