Archbishop responds to Government statement on coronavirus school closures

On 19th March 2020 the Archbishop of Canterbury, Most Revd Justin Welby, responded to the Government statement on school closures in light of the coronavirus crisis:

The Archbishop of Canterbury: My Lords, clearly the educational world is working extraordinarily hard—one welcomes that—in its determination to deal with an extraordinarily difficult situation very quickly and under huge pressure. If we follow the Imperial College analysis model that was recently published, we can see in certain circumstances the repeated waves of Covid-19 going on for 18 to 24 months. At what point will we begin to move towards a longer-term view of what needs to happen? Clearly, schools cannot be closed for two years. I wonder whether the Government have in their mind the planning for the eventuality of longer-term infectious prevalence in this country.

Baroness Berridge: I am grateful to the most reverend Primate. At the moment, the Government are responding step by step to the scientific evidence that we have. Unlike in many situations, it is not possible for us to predict what might happen in the medium and longer term. We have only the scientific information to hand at the moment. I add to the tributes paid when I say that I had the pleasure yesterday of speaking to the head of the Church of England Education Service and the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Durham, who are leading on Church of England schools, and the Catholic Education Service. We are going to need all their assistance. In particular, these groups have a lot of DBS-checked people who can give further assistance to our schools, and they are sometimes geographically placed right next to the local school.

via Parliament.uk