On Sunday, 3 January Boris Johnson said it was perfectly safe for children to return to school after the holidays; the following day, he said that schools must close. There was no more depressing aspect of the country’s return to lockdown. For weeks the Government had insisted that keeping schools open was “a national priority.”
When schools do eventually reopen, they must not be forced to close again. The only way to prevent that with any certainty is through vaccination—of all staff first, then pupils of secondary school age.
Speaking in the Lords on 7 January, Alistair Lexden said: “Is it not essential that the Government give the highest priority to the vaccination of all those who work with such dedication in our country’s schools?”
In reply the Education Minister in the Lords, Baroness Berridge, said: “Testing is being rolled out and consideration of vaccine is very much on [the Education] Department’s mind.” A better answer than that is needed, and will be sought.