South East Cambridgeshire Labour backs calls for additional Covid safety measures in schools and asks when will the Government learn from experience and take action to save our children from yet more disruption.
Rebecca Denness, Education Spokesperson, says “Ministers are quick to shrug off blame for anything that went wrong, quick to claim credit for things that go well and slow to take action when it is so obviously needed. The Government must act urgently to turn-around the escalating Covid crisis in our schools”
Speaking on the day that the Government’s early handling of the Cornavirus pandemic has been condemned as one of the worst public health failures in UK history, Rebecca Denness Cambridgeshire South East Labour’s Education Spokesperson said
“Despite our advantages of one being one of the first countries to develop a Covid test and having world-class expertise in data analysis, the Conservative Government converted this lead into one of permanent crisis.
“A crisis that is still seen all too clearly in our schools as Covid rates spiral and the promised secondary school vaccination programme has barely started.
“Only just over a tenth of 12 to 15 year olds have been given a first dose of the vaccine despite a Government promise that everyone would be offered a jab by the October half-term. That’s less than two weeks away
“I’ve lost count of the number of Ministers who have been on the news today excusing their failures in the early days of the pandemic by saying they were ‘just learning’.
“But we are now into the third academic year where education is being disrupted. When will they learn that fast and co-ordinated action is required?
“I fully back the Education Unions who have written to the Secretary of State for Education calling for additional safety measures in schools.
“It’s good that Cambridgeshire County Council has taken local action to recommend mitigations. We’ve been particularly badly hit here with nearly a quarter of our secondary pupils absent for Covid related reasons.
“As well as disrupting study, children are at risk of long Covid and suffer stress because of the risk of infecting their families. And of course, school staff are also caught up in the rising tide of illness.
“Many other countries in Europe that have kept in place proportionate mitigation measures in schools, such as face coverings and quarantine of close contacts whilst rolling out a vaccination programme, and have not experienced the back-to-school surge in cases that we have seen in England.
“That is the basic lesson that the current Government does not seem willing or able to learn. For the sake of our children, our school staff and the wellbeing of all of us we need a swift response”