We support teachers trying to keep schools closed – until they’re safe

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Keep Our NHS Public supports the National Education Union (NEU) resolution to keep schools closed until they’re safe. As infection rates reach an all-time high in the UK, it is unsafe and unfair to allow schools to open on Monday without the appropriate safety checks in place.

The NEU has released the following resolution for trade unions at a national and local level and other campaign organisations to support. The resolution reads,

This branch/organisation notes: 

    1. The emergency pandemic situation. Cases, admissions and deaths are surging at a time when hospitals are reaching or have passed capacity.
    2. The certainty that reopening schools will accelerate the surge. SAGE experts have said that premature school opening will ensure R number stays above 1.

This branch/organisation believes: 

    1. The government is wrong to push for any schools to reopen.
    2. The National Education Union is right to tell its members that it is not safe to go back to school.

This branch/organisation resolves: 

    1. To send a message of support to the NEU or your local branch of the NEU.
    2. To support action by teachers and support staff in every way possible.

We support this motion, and we urge you in your local KONP group, in your local trade union branch or other organisation, to also support this resolution and share it widely. 

There is still time to act.

Conservative minister Gavin Williamson’s U-turn on London primary schools remaining closed is welcome news. It’s also a victory for the 9 London boroughs brave enough to stand up to the bullying & incompetence of government and challenge the Department of Education with the threat of legal action, as it is of course for the unions and campaign groups who’ve been saying schools are not safe for much longer.

It is good news for London - but the Government must agree to keep ALL schools closed now.

The statement from the NEU released on Saturday 2nd January is a welcome initiative to help keep children, staff and the general public safe, while the government is failing on such a huge scale. The statement says: ‘The National Education Union has taken the difficult decision to advise its members in primary schools that it is unsafe to return to work on Monday.’ It goes on to say:

Our union is calling on all primary schools to move to remote learning for the first two weeks of January except to vulnerable children and the children of key workers.

We are writing to employers, urging them to look at the advice of SAGE, the Government’s scientific advisory group, and we are urging our members, on the basis of that science, to use our model letter to inform their head teacher that it is unsafe for them to be in school – in crowded buildings with no social distancing, no PPE and inadequate ventilation.

We are asking members to be available to work from home and to support remote learning.

This is a step we take with huge reluctance. But this Government is failing to protect children, their families and our communities. And it is failing in its duty of care to education staff who have worked tirelessly to look after children during this pandemic.

Keep Our NHS Public supports this statement, as does Independent SAGE and many others, including National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) and Unison who are now advising against staff attending school buildings from tomorrow also.


WHY IS SCHOOL CLOSURE SO IMPORTANT?

Keep Our NHS Public isn’t saying all schools should remain closed indefinitely without a proper plan to make them safe, but we are saying they should remain closed until either the infection rate drops dramatically or there are sufficient measures to keep them safe, and the truth is they’re not in place now.

Without proper plans for safety measures, schools are daily super-spreading environments 6-hours a day, with pupils and staff going home daily to their communities taking the virus to-and-fro and endangering vulnerable staff and children as well as accelerating community spread. At the time of writing the UK has 57,725 lab recorded Covid positive tests, the highest ever daily new cases and daily deaths are rising towards 1000. To continue to allow children to mix in the current situation is a potentially lethal mistake.

HOW LONG FOR?

We believe schools must remain closed until:

  • Infection rates are suppressed
  • Quality online learning is ensured wherever needed
  • A safe and funded safety regime is in place for schools (approved by unions)
  • A ‘find, test, trace, isolate with support’ fit for purpose in place to control infection rate
  • Vaccinations are approved and underway including for school staff
  • Proper financial support is available to all education workers who are forced to isolate or not able to work due to other Covid-related issues

Keep Our NHS Public supports teachers and other education workers. We also need your support, please give what you can to our work by clicking on the DONATE Button below.


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3 Comments

  1. Closing schools is needed to keep us all safe, as a health worker I fully support KONP statement and the NEU action..solidarity with teachers

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