(Reuters) - British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has ordered a public relations campaign to ensure schools reopen on time in September and said in a meeting that they should be the last places to close even in case of a local lockdown, The Sunday Times newspaper reported.
"The PM stressed (in a Thursday meeting) that the harm done to children's education by not attending school as well as to their mental health is far more damaging than the low risk posed (by the coronavirus), which schools will be carefully managing," the newspaper quoted a source as having said.
A study published on Tuesday said Britain risks a second wave of COVID-19 this winter twice as large as the initial outbreak if it reopens schools full-time without improving its test-and-trace system.
Schools in Britain closed in March during a national lockdown, except for the children of key workers, and reopened in June for a small number of pupils. The government wants all pupils to return to school by early September, with Johnson calling this a national priority.
(Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Daniel Wallis)