By 15 February, the NHS had vaccinated the top four most at risk groups – groups that have accounted for around 88% of COVID-19 deaths and about 55% of hospitalisations. The UK’s four Chief Medical Officers say that you get “substantial protection within 2-3 weeks of vaccination”, which takes us to 8 March. So upon what evidence is your department relying in order to recommend that masks in classrooms are today necessary – rather than “nonsensical” – now that the four most vulnerable groups have “substantial protection”?
Modelling by Sage presented to Downing Street and leaked to The Times predicts hospital admissions and deaths will more than halve over the next month.
Patients battling coronavirus in hospital currently number around 24,000, but this figure is expected to be slashed to around 9,000 by mid-March.
Yesterday 1,908 patients were taken to hospital in the UK, a massive drop in admission rates since the peak in January when around 4,500 were admitted on a single day.
Rob Halfon, the Tory chairman of the Education Select Committee, told The Telegraph: „We just need to make sure March 8 is signed in blood, not just a line in the sand.“ Mark Harper, the chairman of the Covid Recovery Group, said: „It’s crucial we don’t backslide on this.“
The Prime Minister has promised to get children back in classrooms by March 8 as part of his ‚route map‘ out of lockdown, which he plans to reveal on Monday, February 22.
Among the 18 Tories who signed the pledge that „All schools should open full-time to all pupils from Feb 22 to March 8 are former Cabinet minister Esther McVey, ex-ministers Steve Baker, Tim Loughton and Harriet Baldwin, and chairman of the 1922 committee of backbench Conservative MPs Sir Graham Brady.
The new rebellion mushroomed after Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon set the pace by announcing a phased return of Scottish schools from February 22.
Tory MPs also pointed to falling case rates and evidence to Parliament from the Deputy Chief Medical Officer Jenny Harries that schools are not considered one of the major vectors of infection transmission.
Boris Johnson has ordered ministers to ramp up preparations for reopening schools after being told the UK is now past the peak of the current wave of coronavirus.
The Prime Minister has made it clear that the Government’s immediate focus must be on education and is expected to announce further measures to help children catch up after almost a year of disruption.
The group includes the former Cabinet minister Esther McVey and Sir Graham Brady, chairman of the influential 1922 Committee of Tory backbenchers, according to the Telegraph
And Mr Williams faced yet more opposition from Conservative colleagues last night, in the form of Education Select Committee Chairman Robert Halfon.
The former Minister of State for Skills revealed he had asked for an Urgent Question in the House of Commons in which he would demand to know the route-map for getting children back to school.
We are a community of tens of thousands of parents across the U.K. campaigning to #ReopenSchools.
UsforThem is calling on the Government to reopen schools immediately or at the very least to publish the work it has done to show that the schools shutdown is proportionate and takes account of the huge amount of harm we know we are causing to our children both today and in the future.