Prof Gabriel Scally, president of the epidemiology and public health section of the Royal Society of Medicine, said governing bodies in the elite could all comply with broadly the same rules instead of adopting interpretations which can cause confusion.
For children, the main benefit of adopting a clearer policy would be in cutting obesity, he added. “We’ve been trying to reduce the level of childhood obesity for a very long time,” he said. “When you add it all together, I’m sure there is room for outdoor sporting activity, but actually the ventilation part is so important generally for them.
“Schools have not had the money and resources to do the sort of things they should be doing, which should be a lot more outdoor stuff. Teaching outdoors and taking classes. It’s so much safer.”
In the absence of a clear overarching policy on children and outdoor sport, Us For Them is calling on the Government to mandate school-based sports lessons to continue during lockdown. “Through 2020 we have seen children’s lives disrupted and they now face further disruption to sports activities they love,” said Victoria Pratt of Us For Them.
“It is great that schools are open but there is more to a child’s life than school. We already have an obesity epidemic and now we are going to face months of children not being active and instead stuck at home watching television and playing computer games.”