Parents fears as Leicestershire schools are one of the first to reopen

Schools in Leicester and Leicestershire will be one of the first to reopen in the country, and many parents have expressed concerns around the risks of sending their children back to school.

This week will see a number of schools reopen in both the city and county from Wednesday 26 August, with remaining schools reopening next week.

The reopening of schools is seen by the government as vital to boosting the economy and allowing parents to return to work, as well as critical for pupils, many of whom were last in classrooms just before the lockdown in March.

However some parents, especially those shielding, have said they are scared to send their children back to school.

They are concerned their children may catch the virus in school and bring it back home.

The UK’s most senior medical advisers have warned reopening schools could lead to coronavirus infections rising and force some local lockdown measures.

However they believe that while there are “no risk-free options”, further time out of the classroom would increase inequalities, reduce the life chances of children and could exacerbate physical and mental health issues.

A YouGov survey earlier this month found well over half (57 per cent) of parents support plans for schools to reopen fully, with a quarter (25 per cent) feeling they shouldn’t, with almost a fifth (18 per cent) unsure.

While it was optional to send children back to school last term – most parents did not.

But the Government has said attendance will be mandatory for the coming term and parents could be fined – £60, rising to £120 if there is a delay in paying – if they decide to keep their children off.

Leicester City Council said it would only pursue enforcement action as a last resort and said returning to school was vital for a child’s education and wellbeing.

The authority added: “We understand some parents may have concerns about their children returning to school.”

“We are working closely with education settings to make sure arrangements are being put in place and to minimise the risk of transmission for all.”