The South East Cambridgeshire Labour Exec has today written to our local MP Lucy Frazer. We have asked her to support the key principles and tests for a safe reopening of local schools, as set out by the TUC and education unions.
Our South East Cambs schools should only reopen when there is a consensus for them to do so safely.
Here is the text of the letter:
23 May 2020
Dear Lucy Frazer MP
As MP for South East Cambridgeshire you have consistently said that education is a top priority for our constituency. We as members of South East Cambs Labour, hope you will agree that the safe reopening of our local schools is a key step towards our return to normal life in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis.
However, this can only happen when both parents and staff have the confidence that schools have been made safe for pupils (and their families) to return.
The TUC recently published a joint statement on behalf of trade unions who represent staff working in the education sector (GMB, NAHT, NASUWT, NEU, UNISON and Unite). The statement sets out some key principles and tests for the safe reopening of schools in England:
- Safety and welfare of pupils and staff as the paramount principle
- No increase in pupil numbers until full rollout of a national test and trace scheme
- A national Covid-19 education taskforce with government, unions and education stakeholders to agree statutory guidance for safe reopening of schools
- Consideration of the specific needs of vulnerable students and families facing economic disadvantage
- Additional resources for enhanced school cleaning, PPE and risk assessments
- Local autonomy to close schools where testing indicates clusters of new covid-19 cases
In addition, a group of UK scientists (chaired by the former government chief scientist Sir David King), now say that 1 June is too soon for schools to reopen safely in England – and that more time is needed to make conditions safe. New modelling shows the risk to children will be halved if they return to school two weeks later than 1 June (and delaying until September would further reduce the risk).
We hope you will join us in supporting these key principles and tests for a safe reopening of our local schools. Only a joint approach which includes government, unions and education stakeholders (including parents) will allow us to build a national consensus that will see the safe reopening of schools at the right time in the near future.
Huw Jones (Chair)
On behalf of the South East Cambridgeshire Labour Executive