'Schools must stay open,' teachers told

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer insists schools must stay open and testing should be ramped up to manage the risk
1st November 2020, 10:24am

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'Schools must stay open,' teachers told

https://www.tes.com/magazine/archive/schools-must-stay-open-teachers-told
Coronavirus Lockdown: Schools Must Stay Open, Says Labour Leader Sir Keir Starmer

Schools must stay open because the harm to children would be far too great otherwise, the leader of the opposition, Sir Keir Starmer, said today.

Speaking on BBC One's The Andrew Marr Show, the Labour leader insisted that schools need to stay open and measures should be put in place to "manage the risk".

Mr Starmer also criticised the government for the missed chance of a "circuit-breaker" lockdown during half-term.


Background: Half-term national lockdown proposed by Sage scientists

Coronavirus: Close schools for four weeks, say teachers

School safety: 'Steep' rise in Covid among secondary school students


Asked to respond to the NEU teaching union's call to close schools for four weeks to manage the virus after new evidence showed a steep increase in Covid infections among secondary school students, Sir Keir said: "Schools need to stay open.

Coronavirus: Schools 'need effective testing to stay open'

"I want schools open... We have to manage the risk, but it's a priority to keep schools open.

"We need to make sure they are as safe as possible and we need to put in place effective testing at school. Put children and school staff at the front of the queue, the same as NHS staff, to make sure that we control [the virus].

"The harm to children, particularly children from less well-off backgrounds, is huge. They'll carry this for the rest of their lives."

Sir Keir expressed frustration that calls to implement a circuit-breaker during half-term were ignored.

He said: "If what they announced yesterday had been announced three weeks ago, we would have had the lockdown and schools shut because of half-term."

Asked whether it will be possible to take the Covid-19 R (reproduction) rate down while schools are still operating, he said: "It is possible, but it will take longer. And I think lots of parents, and teaching staff, will be tearing their hair out today.

"Last week was half-term. That's why three weeks ago I said we needed a circuit-break. Half-term is a week, take both weekends. If we said to schools: 'You close on the Friday before half-term, and make an Inset day on Monday and Tuesday,' you could have had a 12-day shutdown of schools which coincided with half-term."

 

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