THE choice is down to you now, parents and guardians.

Of course, the choice is always yours in a way – we report year-round about the latest fines dished out to parents who fail to ensure their kids are in school – but now, many are arguing, there is a life-and-death reason to consider not letting your children go back into class.

The risk is not, of course, significant for the children themselves – whose chances of dying or getting seriously ill from Covid-19 are among the lowest in the population – but the risk to those they might transmit the disease to: parents, grandparents and other adults they see.

On the one hand, a cynic might ask at what point, if ever, we do start to take that risk again: given there is serious talk about this virus now becoming endemic in the population like colds or flu, and we don’t know if a long-lasting vaccine is even possible, how long do we wait to find out before trying to go back to normal?

One counter-argument is, of course, that we haven’t even tried vaccine one yet.

Much of the answer to these questions will come down to how individual schools try to protect against infection and transmission – and how successful they are.

And, as we report on today's front page, with the vast majority of schools now run by independent academy trusts rather than the local council, those fine details may vary vastly from one school to another.

If one school, for example, happens to have more space to spread children out during lessons, then it may automatically seem safer than one that is more cramped.

Finally, there is the biggest question of all – what is actually best for the children?

Some have already warned that those children who come from less stable homes, less educated households or otherwise more deprived, will be falling behind in their learning faster than those from wealthy homes full of clever relatives and books.

We don't recommend an answer to this problem, but we salute every parent considering these points carefully in order to do the best for their children.