Schools ‘losing patience’ with lack of plan B for Covid

Heads' union says schools could use week-on, week-off rotas in case of coronavirus resurgence next term

Tes Reporter

Geoff Barton

Schools are "losing patience" with the government’s demand to have all children back in school in September with no plan B in place, the Association of Schools and College Leaders has warned.

General secretary Geoff Barton has been calling for the government to include a plan B in its school reopening plans ever since guidance was published at the beginning of July, highlighting the importance of being prepared for the worst-case scenario.

Mr Barton said that teachers might teach students on a week-on, week-off basis if there was a resurgence of coronavirus and schools were forced to limit the number of pupils attending.

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"If you want to limit the number of children on-site or travelling to and from school, a big part of that is using rotas and the obvious way to do it is 'week on, week off '," Mr Barton told The Daily Telegraph.

He added: “The majority of leadership teams will be thinking about different scenarios and how they can get some children to school. In the absence of clear guidance from the government, leaders are making their own contingency plans."

But Professor Russell Viner, president of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health and a member of Sage, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme this morning that a rota system wouldn’t make much difference to teachers.

He said: "It actually appears to make very little difference to the overall risk, the overall population R in fact. If you get the mitigations right...then actually the rota systems appear to make very little difference and make little difference to the risk to teachers."

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