Thousands of people across the country have called on the Government to close schools and colleges.
ChronicleLive reports that the online petition, started by Sami Attout, says: “We would like the Government to at least consider closing schools/colleges down in the coming weeks or as soon as possible, in addition to taking necessary actions to prevent further spread.
“We would like the Government or Parliament to enforce this action due to the growing fear among parents and students that attend school.
“The ability to focus or concentrate is affected in addition to the growing fears of the coronavirus.
“In our view, the Government and health officials around the world are more ‘reactive’ rather than ‘proactive’. This will result in more spread as time is given for the virus to do so. We hope to come to an agreement as soon as possible in a timely manner.”
The campaign comes after the number of confirmed cases in Britain rose to 382, with six deaths related to the virus.
It is also advising that students on placement in Italy should return home and that large scale conferences and events should be cancelled.
Scores of people are also commenting on the issue on social media with the hashtag #closetheschools.
One wrote on Twitter: “Schools are closing all round Europe. Meanwhile, the UK government drags its feet so we can take it on the chin. Yes, it’ll be very disruptive, but it’ll #slowthespread and save lives. We manage to close schools for months every year without the sky falling in.”
Another said: “373 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the UK and six deaths. The numbers are only expected to rise – surely the safest options would be to temporarily close schools whilst more research is done on Covid-19?”
However, some were against the closure of schools.
One youngster said: “As a student belonging to the UK, please do not #CloseTheSchools.
“Millions of Year 11s will have their GCSEs in jeapordy. We will fail. Do not close the schools unless it is absolutely necessary.
“Covid-19 is not a serious threat to children, and if need be, special cases can and should be made to children with health conditions or children who put family members or others at risk.
“At the very least, don’t close it for Year 11 students. Sure, a 2-4 week holiday may sound nice, but having good GCSE grades sound a lot better.”