After many months of remote learning pupils across England are now returning back to school as the roadmap out of lockdown begins.
All children are able to return to school today, but secondary schools will stagger the return of pupils over the week as mass testing is underway.
A government Sage scientist has insisted that schools are “absoloutley” safe, but warned it is “inevitable that we will see a rise in cases.”
Professor Calum Semple from the University of Liverpool told the BBC on Monday that it does not matter so much that the R number will rise.
Professor Semple said, “The subtle question about transmission and teachers, and bringing it home, well the school infection survey is showing that primary school children are half as likely to have had it and probably half as likely to transmit it.
“Secondary school children (are) slightly less protected because as they become adolescents they effectively have the biology of an adult, but even there, they’re half to a quarter as likely to have had it and transmit it.
“So the main driver is not the pupil-teacher relationship.
“When we talk about schools, it is the fact that the school brings adults together, whether that’s teaching staff, the domestic staff, the catering staff, and it’s an opportunity for mixing.”
The Schools Minister Vicky Ford assured parents, teachers and pupils that schools are safe.
She told Sky News that it is “hugely exciting” and a “relief” as children head back to the classroom.
On wearing face coverings Ford said, “The vast majority of teenagers… they want to do everything they can to protect themselves from the virus… and they understand that the masks that have been recommended by the medical officers are a way to help to do that.
“Nobody should be denied an education if they don’t wear a mask but we do strongly recommend it.”