Coronavírus: many schools have closed during lockdown to try and reduce the spread of Covid-19. Is this form of social distancing effective? Is homeschooling really the answer? Neil and Catherine look at the English vocabulary in the news around this story.

The story
While children can catch coronavirus, they rarely get severe symptoms. But they can still spread the disease, which is why many countries have closed schools. The latest research, published in the Lancet Child and Adolescent Health journal, assessed the likely impact of this policy based on the limited available data.

The scientists found that shutting schools was far less effective than other social distancing interventions, preventing between two and four percent of deaths. They say policy makers must weigh up the possible harms and reopen schools at the earliest possible opportunity. The government has said it will review its coronavirus policies after Easter.


express doubt about something

• Good students question existing ideas.
• The opposition questioned the government about its approach to the crisis.

very small; not important

• United only have a marginal lead over City in the league.
• For me, the difference between Coke and Pepsi is marginal.

play a role
be involved in something in an important way

• Hand washing plays an important role in preventing the spread of viruses.
• Parents are playing a key role in educating their children while schools are closed.

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