Petition KEEP SCHOOLS OPEN - the tragic error to close them cannot be made EVER again.

Loss of learning. School closures deny children from all backgrounds the chance to get the education they need to build a bright future. It is estimated that every day of school closure equates to 40,000 years of lost education.

Mental health; From the start of the lockdown, researchers working in mental health, self‐harm and suicide were worried about the effects of social isolation (Gunnell, 2020). Loneliness is as damaging as smoking and obesity in terms of long‐term health effects.

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Digital divide. Lack of access to the internet, suitable computers and teaching resources means many children are excluded from online learning. Variations in access to tech are increasing inequalities in both academic attainment and social engagement.

Research from the Uni of Oxford shows that young people have been lonely in lockdown, lonelier than parents (ARC, 2020). Uni of Bath research indicates that loneliness is linked to mental health problems such as depression & anxiety up to 9 years later (Loades, et al., 2020)

Nutrition; thousands of children depend on free school meals; unexpected long‐term school closure may adversely impact nutrition and educational outcomes. Food insecurity is higher during the pandemic.

Child abuse and injury; Schools play a vital role in the safeguarding of children, with educational staff often being the first to report potential child abuse. Research by Birmingham Uni showed a significant drop of 39% in the number of CPME referrals.

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