South Gloucestershire’s Liberal Democrats have called on the Government to publish the scientific evidence on which they’ve based their decision to open up schools to more pupils and to give schools and the public more guidance.
The Government has told schools, which are currently open for at risk children and the children of key workers, to plan to start reopening to more children on 1st June. So far they have refused to publish the scientific evidence to show that increasing the number of children in schools so early would be safe. Both teachers and parents have raised serious concerns that reopening schools prematurely opens up unjustifiable risk.
Cllr Jayne Stansfield, Liberal Democrat Shadow Cabinet Member for Schools, Skills and Employment on South Gloucestershire Council, said:
“We all want schools to open to more pupils as soon as possible. The impact of being out of school on children’s wellbeing and education, especially for the most disadvantaged pupils, is a serious concern. Parents and school staff need to know it’s safe though. Right now the Government is not sharing the scientific evidence that it is safe for schools to reopen, beyond the current provision for children of key workers and at-risk children.
“To open before it is shown to be safe to do so would be beyond reckless.
“We want to see the scientific evidence for further reopening and at a minimum we need to have wide-spread testing and a functioning track and trace operation before we should consider further reopening schools.”
Cllr Claire Young, Liberal Democrat Leader of the Opposition on South Gloucestershire Council, said:
“We want children to go back to school as soon as possible, but only when it is safe. The Government’s plans seem ill thought through. It is wrong for them to put pressure on schools to act without publishing the scientific advice guiding their decision and without working with teachers and schools to put together a workable and safe plan for reopening."
Press release (pdf)