Health chief hails schools return as 'monumental' moment in coronavirus battle
The return of schools in the Black Country will be a "monumental" moment in shaping how the region recovers from the coronavirus crisis, a health boss has said.
Leading medics said the reopening of schools next month would need to be closely monitored amid fears of a second Covid-19 spike.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson insists the reopening of schools is a top priority after nearly six months away from face-to-face education for most children.
Teachers and pupils could have to undergo weekly tests in a bid to ensure there is no rapid spread of the virus.
Sally Roberts, deputy chief officer for the Black Country and West Birmingham Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCG), said the return of schools would be a huge moment in the story of the pandemic and for determining what happens next in the region.
She said CCGs were working closely with council public health teams on planning for schools to try and ensure they are as safe as possible.
Ms Roberts told the latest meeting of the Black Country and West Birmingham Joint Health Commissioning Board: "The schools return will be an interesting time, in terms of Covid, across our population and one we have got to watch with very clear eyes.
"We are very responsive to schools going back in September but it won't be without some challenges I'm sure."
She added: "It is in hand but it is going to be a really monumental point in our journey."
Ms Roberts said health bodies were working hard to ensure schools were as safe as possible when they reopen.
She said: "Schools testing kits, test and trace sits with public health responsibility. But we are working hand in hand with them.
"We are speaking to one local authority and they are absolutely working to ensure social distancing meausres, PPE, education, test and trace go into schools."