“Schools are safe. Very, very important to stress that.”

Boris Johnson, The Andrew Marr Show

January 3, 2021

Facts

On the Andrew Marr Show on 3 January, Boris Johnson said, “Schools are safe.” He then allowed schools across England, apart from primary schools in London to open for the first day of term.

Andrew Marr responded: “The reason I ask is that SAGE told you on the 22nd December that we couldn’t keep on top of this new variant while keeping schools open.”

The following day Marr’s scepticism  was vindicated.  In an address to the nation on coronavirus Boris Johnson announced that schools across England would be closed with immediate effect, saying that they are “vectors for transmission, causing the virus to spread between households.”

Verdict

Johnson’s original claim that schools were safe was false. It is hard to believe that he did not know this: one day is an unusually short lifetime for any ministerial statement, even by him.

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