‘LISTEN to teachers and scientists and follow the devolved administrations with a phased return to schools’ – that was the message from Zarah Sultana after Boris Johnson’s road map announcement on Monday.
The Labour MP for Coventry South said a ‘big bang’ reopening of all schools in England on March 8 could cause an ‘exponential increase in cases’ and take the R rate to above 1.
During the Monday evening press conference when the road map was announced, Dr Chris Whitty, the UK’s medical adviser and Sir
Patrick Vallance, the UK’s chief scientific adviser, rubbished reports they were unhappy with schools being reopened all at once.
But Ms Sultana said the National Education Union – the largest teaching union – had described the plans as ‘reckless’.
“I know how difficult learning from home has been for parents and children and the impact it is having on children’s education.
“That is why we have to make sure this is the last lockdown and restrictions are eased cautiously.
“But instead the Government is in danger of repeating mistakes it has made before, sending ten million staff and students across the country back to schools on a single day and risking a deadly third wave.
“It should instead listen to scientists, teachers and trade unions and phase the return of schools.”
The devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have all opted for a phased return of schools, with different year groups scheduled to return on different dates.