The British Medical Association have backed teachers’ unions by saying the COVID-19 Coronavirus infection rates remain too high for schools in England to reopen.
Currently, schools in England are only open for vulnerable children and the children of key workers. On Sunday, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson set out the UK government’s plan for the next phases of tackling the Coronavirus. Under the plans, schools could reopen from 1 June for students in key year groups, provided the conditions are safe for them to do so according to the government’s scientific advice.
The governments in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, who are largely controlling their own nations’ responses to the virus pandemic, have not set a date for the return of students to schools.
The BMA trade union, which represents doctors in the UK, said that teachers and educational leaders were “absolutely right” to urge for caution in order to avoid a second peak of virus cases.
Over recent days, teachers have said they still have concerns about the UK Government’s proposals, despite the efforts of the Education Secretary Gavin Williamson to try and ease these, including through responding to an urgent question in the House of Commons on Wednesday.
Patrick Roach, the general secretary of the NASUWT union has said;
“No information was provided to change the widely held view that the evidence base for opening schools from 1 June is weak.”
The union has been backed up by the British Medical Association, whose council chair said: “Until we have got case numbers much lower, we should not consider reopening schools”.
Schools in England have been closed to most students since the end of the day on 20 March due to the Coronavirus pandemic, though some teaching has taken place for students online.