Government complacency has put teachers, parents and children in a needlessly difficult position

Much of what has gone wrong with the government’s approach to the pandemic was contained in the spectacle of primary schools opening for just one day at the start of this week. Last Sunday, the prime minister said that there was “no doubt” in his mind that classrooms were safe. By Tuesday, they were shut.

Boris Johnson’s impatience to return to something called “normality” has been a constant obstacle to contingency planning. Many Conservative MPs have refused to accept the scale of adaptation demanded for life in a pandemic, and that culture of denial inhibits preparation for a long haul.

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