SAGE advisor declares plans to re-open schools a political - not scientific - decision

Prof John Edmunds told a Lords committee that the decision to reopen school was political; Getty Ima

Prof John Edmunds told a Lords committee that the decision to reopen school was political; Getty Images/iStockphoto - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

A Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) advisor has said that the government's decision to re-open schools on June 1 was a political one.

Professor John Edmunds, who advises SAGE members on infectious disease modelling, told a Lords science committee that it was up to politicians to re-open classrooms, not scientists.

'Clearly the decision to open primary schools or not is a political one. It is not a scientific decision. Scientists can offer some advice,' he told peers.


You may also want to watch:


'It looks like the risk to children is low and that the vast majority don't have significant symptoms ... It may be that they are less likely to transmit to others as well, and so the risk to others may be relatively low.'

MORE: Minister suggests scientific advice was to blame for government mistakes in pandemic response

Most Read

He added: 'But, overall, you have to weigh up those risks with other things, risks to the community, problems with children - clearly, we can't keep children off school forever.

'Weighing all of those things needs to be done by politicians.'

Prof Edmunds' comments come after ministers hit the airwaves on Tuesday claiming the decision to get teachers and pupils back into schools was based on scientific advice.

Unions representing teachers and the British Medical Association have claimed that reopening schools is unsafe and that government social distancing guidelines would be impossible to follow in classrooms.

Become a Supporter

The New European is proud of its journalism and we hope you are proud of it too. We believe our voice is important - both in representing the pro-EU perspective and also to help rebalance the right wing extremes of much of the UK national press. If you value what we are doing, you can help us by making a contribution to the cost of our journalism.

Become a supporter
Comments powered by Disqus