Boris Johnson has created further confusion by visiting an empty school out of term time to claim that they are safe during term time when they are busier.
The prime minister was visiting a school in east London during the school holidays to emphasise he was ‘very keen’ to return to normal education in September.
He said: ‘It’s not right that kids should spend more time out of school, it’s much much better for their health and mental wellbeing, obviously their educational prospects, if everybody comes back to school full-time in September.
‘It’s our moral duty as a country to make sure that happens.’
The prime minister struck a conciliatory tone to education unions, praising the work they had done to make classrooms safe.
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He said: ‘It’s very important that everybody works together to ensure that our schools are safe and they are – they are Covid secure – I have been very impressed by the work that the teachers have done, working with the unions, to make sure that all schools are safe to go back to in September.
‘A lot of work being done over making sure that there’s social distancing, bubbling, staggered start times, all that kind of thing.
‘But, basically, the plan is there – get everybody back in September, that’s the right thing for everybody.’
His decision to attend a school which was almost empty of staff and pupils, however, sparked some confusion.
‘Why on earth is he going to a school in a middle of the summer holidays to give this speech?!’ questioned Monika Juenja.
‘Important to note: Schools are empty because it’s the summer holidays. When a thousand or a hundred children are there, they are very different!’ noted one Twitter user.
‘Dear @BorisJohnson of course it is safe to visit a school in the middle of the summer holidays – they are closed!’ tweeted another. ‘All teachers want is to be sure that they & the children will be safe in September when we are at full capacity with no ppe & no social distancing It’s not the same!’
‘Boris Johnson visiting a school today?’ asked @johnbs57. ‘I know he is new at parenting but can someone tell him it is summer holiday.’