Aug 23, 2020

Coronavirus: Schools let down by lack of 'plan B', says union

More staff, extra teaching space and greater clarity on what to do if there is a spike in cases is needed for schools to reopen safely, the UK's largest teaching union has said. Writing in the Sunday Times, Gavin Williamson said he wanted to reassure every parent and pupil that schools were "Ready for them", and the autumn return to schools was "More important than ever" this year. Kevin Courtney, joint general secretary of the NEU, said the union agreed about the benefits of pupils returning to full-time education, but ministers needed to provide more information to schools and colleges on what to do in the event of an outbreak. Of the more than one million children who attended pre-school and primary schools in England in June, 70 children and 128 staff were infected in outbreaks of the virus, according to a Public Health England study published on Sunday. A Department for Education spokesperson said: "We welcome the report from Public Health England, which makes clear that coronavirus infections in schools are extremely rare, as part of the growing evidence base which indicates schools do not appear to be a primary driver of infections in the community."

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