Education chiefs have warned of a major backlash with millions of children kept at home if schools are the first to end the coronavirus lockdown.
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The Sun can also reveal that FTSE company bosses too have warned the Government that they share the same worries about their workers.
Many of them will also refuse to return to work unless confidence is rebuilt that it is safe to go out again.
Government insiders say the conclusions show just how deeply the coronavirus lockdown has affected Britain psychologically, after almost four weeks.
Some ministers are pushing hard for primary schools to be the first to go back to allow parents to then return to work afterwards.
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But Education Secretary Gavin Williamson is now privately insisting Parliament as well as other high profile institutions must take the plunge first.
A Cabinet source said: “Nobody is in the mood to rush back to school, or potentially anywhere else. Public sentiment has changed, and quite dramatically.
"We are going to have to do it very gradually and phased. That almost certainly means things like Parliament going first, to set an example.” Denmark became Europe’s first country to allow some schools to reopen on Thursday.
But Whitehall officials were spooked by a furious protest from the country’s mothers who began a petition to oppose it under the slogan ‘My child is not a guinea pig’.
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Internal Downing Street polling has also revealed public support for the lockdown is overwhelming, with nine out of ten wanting it to stay in place for now.
A YouGov poll published by the Royal Society on Thursday also found just nine per cent of Brits want a complete return to normal after lockdown ends.
And 85 per cent said they want to see at least some of the personal or social changes they have experienced continue, such as seeing more of their family or noticing cleaner air.
The Sun Says
IT is vital we endure this lockdown nightmare only once.
It is gruelling for us all, is costing £2billion a day and wrecking the economy. But it would be an even greater catastrophe to relax it early, suffer a second wave of infections and have to do it all again.
Aside from the new toll of lost lives, many businesses which limp through one shutdown will not survive a second.
So Dominic Raab’s decision to extend our virtual house arrest for three weeks seems fair while it remains unclear how successfully we are battling Covid-19.
He, and preferably a fit-again Boris Johnson, must time this exactly right. As the Foreign Secretary said, we are at a “delicate and dangerous stage”. But it is vital to review it every day.
If the statistics show clearer progress in, say, another week, the Government must prioritise setting a date for partially reopening schools and some firms.
We need light at the end of the tunnel.
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