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expert reaction to statement from UK Chief Medical Officers on schools re-opening

The UK Chief Medical Officers (CMOs) have released a joint statement on schools reopening during the COVID-19 pandemic.


Prof Liam Smeeth, Professor of Clinical Epidemiology, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said: 

“The statement from the Chief Medical Officers is a very welcome example of clear leadership. It sets out the importance of re-opening schools for the overall health of our young people, and discusses the balance of risks and benefits in an honest and straightforward way that is genuinely based on the available scientific evidence. Re-opening schools is rightly portrayed as a key national priority. We simply cannot re-open more than 30,000 schools and not expect at least some adverse impact on Covid-19, and it is important to acknowledge this and ensure adequate measures are in place to keep risks as low as possible and to respond rapidly as and when local outbreaks occur. There will be some outbreaks in individual schools, and some localised geographical areas around schools may be affected. However, with everyone acting together in a strong spirit of community, these risks to individual students, to staff, and to families can be reduced. Adequate monitoring of circulating viruses and support for rapid public health interventions at school and local levels to minimise viral transmission when outbreaks look likely will also be crucial.”


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