An online petition calling for the government to close schools across the UK due to the outbreak of Covid-19 has surpassed a quarter of a million signatures and is still rising.
The UK government and devolved governments across the union have all stated there is no need to close schools yet, but that policy is constantly being reviewed.
Just yesterday, the World Health organisation officially declared the outbreak as a global pandemic. This came shortly after the news that the UK health minister Nadine Dorries had tested positive for Coronavirus, and of the country-wide quarantine of Italy. Closure of all schools and universities in Italy has also taken effect. Italians are even being denied accesses to bordering Austria, as the country is dealing with the largest outbreak outside of China.
Some schools in the UK have been closed as instances of the Covid-19 strain of coronavirus were discovered in students, staff or parents. The vast majority of schools in the UK are still open as the government assures the public that life will be “business as usual”.
Two of the earliest school closures were Cransley School in Northwich, Cheshire, and Trinity Catholic College in Middlesbrough, because pupils from these schools had returned from a trip in Italy.
Schools are breeding grounds for viruses. Children appear to suffer less severe symptoms with this new strain, yet they can bring the virus back to their parents or vulnerable family members. Schools in Poland are set to close on Monday next week, despite the country experiencing a relatively low number of confirmed coronavirus cases, and no deaths.
The UK petition to close schools has already gathered nearly 300,000 signatures, well over the 10,000 needed for parliament to recognise it and respond – and over the 100,000 for parliament to debate it.