By the beginning of April the coronavirus pandemic meant approximately 1.5 billion children were locked down at home, out of education. Four months later, after the longest summer holiday imaginable, the English government is preparing for a back-to-school September like never before. 

Schools across the country have been instructed to reintroduce compulsory attendance for all year groups, starting in September. In the back to school guidance, the government claims that “the balance of risk is now overwhelmingly in favour of children returning to school,” citing the detrimental impact on children’s “cognitive and academic development, particularly for disadvantaged children”, in contrast with the Covid’s apparently very small threat to children.