In the light of speculation on the re-opening of schools and colleges, the joint General Secretaries of the National Education Union have called on Boris Johnson as Prime Minister for clarity on how the Government will make such a decision.
Councillor Alan Hall has added his name to a letter to the Prime Minister supporting students, parents, teachers and the public call for publishing the plans before opening schools and colleges, the full text of the letter is here:
To The Prime Minister:
We, the undersigned, oppose any re-opening of schools before it is safe to do so. As a matter of urgency and certainly well before any proposal to re-open schools is published, please can you share with teachers and parents:
- Your modelling of the increased number of cases and mortalities amongst children, their parents, carers and extended families, and their teachers and support staff as a result of the re-opening of schools.
- Whether such modelling is based on some notion that social distancing could be implemented in schools (we ask this because many teachers think this would be a foolhardy assumption)?
- Would your modelling be based on concrete plans to have regular testing of children and staff, availability of appropriate PPE and enhanced levels of cleaning – with all of which we are currently experiencing severe difficulties?
- Whether your modelling would include plans for children and staff in vulnerable health categories, or living with people in vulnerable health categories not to be in school or college?
- Your latest evidence on which people are most vulnerable to permanent consequences or death from the virus, for example the evidence of the impact on those who live in crowded accommodation, those with different comorbidities, those from different ethnic groups and of different ages and both sexes.
- Are you developing plans for extensive testing, contact tracing and quarantine in society as a whole?
- Teachers see that countries successfully implementing such strategies have many fewer cases and many many fewer mortalities than we do in the UK. Would you intend these plans be in place well before schools are re-opened, which seems essential to us?
- If you are not developing such plans what is your overall approach and is it dependent on an assumption that those who have had the virus are then immune?