Primary schools may be first places to reopen after lockdown, Public Health Wakefield says

Primary schools may be among the first public spaces to fully reopen when lockdown restrictions are eased again, Wakefield's director of public health has suggested.

Thursday, 4th February 2021, 12:30 pm

Anna Hartley said it was likely the government would take the country out of lockdown more gradually than last year.

Covid data released on Monday showed the Wakefield district's infection rate is hovering at just under 224 cases per 100,000.

Ms Hartley warned her prediction should be "taken with a pinch of salt" because the government may change its mind on how to go about the process.

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Schools remain open to the children of key workers.

But speaking at a recovery board meeting on Monday, she said: "The messages we're getting at the moment is it won't be like last summer.

"We won't be going from lockdown to 'Eat Out to Help Out', because clearly that didn't work particularly well because we ended up with case numbers going back up again.

"I think it will be a much slower process, hopefully doing one thing at a time, so you can measure the impact that has on the infection rate.

"It will be an incremental lifting of measures."

Anna Hartley, the director of public health in Wakefield.

Primary schools are still open to children of key workers and special needs pupils during lockdown, although classrooms are much fuller than they were last spring because more people are having to go to work.

The virus has been less contagious and less harmful to young children than adults, however.

Ms Hartley added: "The lobbying I'd be doing would be around getting primary schools back open first, because it's vital for children to get that access.

"We have been told it would be primary schools that would be first to reopen, and then secondary schools.

"Things do change very quickly. It's a fast-moving picture, but that's what we're being told at the moment."

Local Democracy Reporting Service