Teachers fear schools still unsafe as millions return

Teachers demonstrate against Tory cuts – they are demanding safe conditions in schools that are reopening

‘TEACHERS are concerned that the government have not taken the safety measures that they should have done,’ Dr Mary Bousted, Joint General Secretary of the National Education Union (NEU), said yesterday morning as all schools in England re-opened their doors to millions of pupils.

‘The government said that schools are a priority, and that they are the first priority to get back after the lockdown. If they had turned those words into actions they would have had more social distancing in schools, they would have procured wider spaces, particularly in secondary schools where transmission really can occur.

‘They could have ensured that there was ventilation in every class room – carbon filter ventilation units to really make sure that airborne transmission does not happen.

‘There are lots of things that should have happened, they haven’t happened, and the government have had two months to do this.’

Meanwhile, at the 4.00pm Downing Street press conference yesterday Tory PM Johnson admitted that there will be increased risk of transmission because of the schools re-opening.

‘On the question of the budget of risk on opening up schools, we do accept that of course there will be risk of increased transmission, that is inevitable if you open up schools for millions of kids across the country. That is going to happen. That we think that we can do it now in the way that we are is because we have the proportion of the population vaccinated in groups 1-4.’

He said a quarter of the population has now been vaccinated and it has been at least three weeks since the most vulnerable had their first dose, giving him ‘confidence’ in the first steps.

He said there now needs to be a ‘concerted programme’ from the government to ensure it carries on with its ‘cautious but irreversible roadmap to freedom’.