It looks like children are front and centre of the covid-19 news agenda this week and it does raise a number of questions.

For example, should at least some children be going back to school in early June? Will it be safe for them to do so? Will it be safe for their parents when their youngsters are mixing with 14 or 15 other kids and then coming back home? Will it be safe for the teachers and support staff looking after them? Is it reasonable when two parents both suspect they have coronavirus to drive 260 miles from London to the North East to stay with family.

Like everything to do with this pandemic, there’s no one satisfactory answer to any of those questions.

So let’s look at what’s being proposed.

Schools in Warrington are aiming to open from June 8, according to Warrington Borough Council, following the Government’s announcement that the start of June was the earliest possible date for a phased reopening of schools.

The first stage will involve primary school children in reception, year one and year six.

So far, so good.

Let’s not forget that a lot of schools have actually stayed open during the lockdown, teaching the children of key workers and some vulnerable children, but the new plan would see more formal arrangements.

Sounds like a good idea at first glance, doesn’t it?

But maybe it’s not such a good idea at all.

In the first instance, while there does seem to be scientific evidence that children are less likely to catch the illness, some do. And there also seems to be a significant body of evidence that if they do contract coronavirus, they are more likely to be asymptomatic or have very mild symptoms. But tragically some children have become fatally ill.

And the evidence is still unclear about the likelihood of children passing on Covid-19 to adults.

With no clear answer to any of those questions, it has to be accepted there is a risk. Now I am happy to concede there is a risk to almost every activity in life. While we are in the middle of a pandemic, we have all been told we can minimise that risk by socially distancing, staying two metres apart so we can ‘stay alert’ to ‘control the virus’.

So I have a question, and it’s a serious one. Has anyone coming up with these return to school rules ever tried to get 15 four and five-year-olds to socially distance?

It’s not going to happen.

Like everyone else, I want to see a return to something approaching normality, even if it is a ‘new normal’. But not at the expense of children, teachers and school support staff.

Here’s what Unison Warrington Local Government branch secretary, Jason Horan, had to say: “Unison requested an increased cleaning function across all schools to avoid the spread of the virus – yet we were informed that instead, doors can be propped open to minimise touch points, reducing the necessity for proper cleaning.

"Until measures are put into place to keep staff, parents and children safe, we will not be able to support the re-opening of Warrington schools.

"We are nowhere near a situation where it would be responsible to increase pupil numbers in Warrington."

You can add to Unison’s concerns with the fact that the much-lauded coronavirus tracing app isn’t up and running yet. Questions also still remain around the capacity to be able to fully test, trace and isolate children and school staff. It seems risky at least and dangerous at worst to send children back to school just yet.

If I was a parent of a child in one of those three school years, I would be thinking long and hard before I sent my little one back to school.