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  1. Published on: 19/05/2020 10:32 AMReported by: rogerblaxall
    Concerned Labour county councillors have this week raised concerns over Government plans to reopen schools to some pupils from the 1st June.

    Labour leader Azhar Ali has written to LCC Chief Executive Angie Ridgewell to ask that the authority takes a position on what tests need to be met for schools to reopen safely.

    The County Council has so far said that the decision as to whether to reopen schools lies with the Governing Bodies or Academy Trusts and has not given a public position statement on whether it agrees with the Government decision to ask schools to reopen for some pupils. Labour councillors are urging that LCC listen to education union’s concerns and support schools to delay further opening until the National Education Unions five tests are met. The letter also raises concerns about the readiness of testing and tracing plans, and the viability of enforcing strict enough social distancing in a school setting.

    Cllr Lizzi Collinge is one of the councillors concerned at the Government plans.

    She told QLocal: “As the mum of a six-year-old in Year One, I know many parents have been wrestling with the decision about whether to send their kids back to school. It’s a very personal decision based on your own family’s situation and the benefits of education and the risks of not being in school are clear.

    "For me though, I can’t send my child back to school if I don’t know that the school are able to keep staff and pupils reasonably safe. Six-year-olds simply can’t keep their distance or follow strict hygiene or at least mine can’t!

    "I am really concerned that staff and the wider community would be at significant risk from schools opening to more pupils. Of course, some pupils need to be in school either because their parents are key workers or they would disproportionately suffer from missing school and I support schools to serve those children.

    "I just don’t trust the Government to get everything in place to enable wider reopening.”

    Added Cllr Ali: “Of course as a parent I want my kids to go back but I will not be sending them back until safety in schools for teachers, staff and kids can be guaranteed.

    "Teachers have been contacting worried out of their minds about their real fears that social distancing can not be maintained and therefore we could end up with a second wave of Covid-19. I have no faith in the governments promises around testing as you only need to look at the chaos around care homes.

    "Lancashire County Council should be clearer in its guidance and also make clear whether head teachers and school governors would be liable to legal action if someone got infected or worse."

    Shadow Cabinet member for Schools Cllr Jenny Mein commented: "I agree with the British Medical Association that it is not safe to send school kids back yet. We have to listen to the experts and reduce the risks."
     

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