I am very pleased that schools are going back on 8 March. This is the right thing for children’s education, social development and for their wellbeing. It will also come as a huge relief to many parents who have had to juggle their work with home schooling.
It is very important for us all as individuals and for the economy that this is the last lockdown. We have to be sure that we don’t allow a new resurgence of the virus, which is why the Prime Minister’s Road Map is sensibly phased with gaps built in to assess the impact.
The pandemic has been very difficult for everyone, and for many it has been a time of tragedy and grief. There has been severe economic and personal stress as businesses have struggled or failed and people’s jobs have been lost. This is why the multi-billion pound support package has been so important and why it is so vital that we emerge from this lockdown cautiously, taking step by step checking the data as we go. We mustn’t take risks with this virulent and deadly virus.
Throughout the pandemic we have witnessed heroism from people working on the front line: the NHS staff, teachers, supermarket staff, delivery people and many more. We have seen kindness and understanding from strangers and stoicism from people confined and alone in their homes.
We are all longing for the spring and a steady return to something like normal life. Today’s announcement gives us the best hope of achieving just that.