Coronavirus has changed everything. Make sense of it all with the Waugh Zone, our evening politics briefing. Sign up now.
Parents have been told to “control their teenagers” by England’s deputy chief medical officer, as she warned a second wave of coronavirus was “quite a possibility”.
Jenny Harries told the Downing Street press conference on Thursday the “social behaviours” of teens outside of school was much more of a risk than them being together in the classroom.
“We should be more concerned about what teenagers are doing outside school,” she said.
Harries said when children were in school there were “hierarchies of control” and “people keeping an eye on them”.
“The schools are quite a controlled environment,” she said.
“The transmission risk [is] potentially in the social behaviours of the teenagers, the older children, out of school.”
Harries added families should, where possible, “try and control their teenagers in their social interactions outside of schools”.
“A second wave is quite a possibility – that is not ruled out,” she said.
Gavin Williamson, the education secretary, told the press conference it would be “misleading” to imply the spike in coronavirus cases in Leicester, which has been placed under a local lockdown, was a result of schools reopening.
“School has far more control over my daughters than anything I’ve ever been able to achieve,” he added.
The No.10 briefing took place as the government announced guidelines, much of which was exclusively revealed by HuffPost UK earlier this week, for how schools in England should reopen in September.
Whole schools or entire year groups could be ordered to self-isolate if coronavirus outbreaks are detected once pupils return to class.
Schools have been told to keep children in class- or year-sized “bubbles” and avoid creating “busy corridors” when all pupils return in an effort to limit the spread of the virus.
Government guidance on how to get all children back after the summer break – following up to six months at home – also suggests older pupils should be encouraged to be kept away from other groups of students and staff.
It warns that health protection teams could order the whole school, or all pupils in a year group, to self-isolate at home if schools have two or more confirmed coronavirus cases within a fortnight, the advice says.
But the guidance insists school closures “may not be necessary” if there are a number of confirmed cases of coronavirus on site if schools implement the recommended controls.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.