UNISON urges MPs to act amid surging school COVID-19 cases

Education unions have sent an urgent letter asking MPs to call the government to action

Microscopic view of the Coronavirus

As COVID-19 cases among school-age children are surging, UNISON – along with other unions – has today sent an urgent letter to all English MPs urging them to call on the government to reintroduce additional measures in schools.

The letter, which was also signed by GMB, UNITE, NEU & NASUWT, says that, according to the government’s own data, coronavirus cases in schools have surged and that over 100,000 children were absent from school on 16 September due to confirmed or suspected cases of the virus – the highest level seen during the pandemic.

This comes alongside a recent ONS infection survey that suggests that one in 22 (4.6%) of children in years seven to 11 were positive for COVID-19 last week. Again, this is the highest it has ever been.

The letter also points out that: “The burden of absences and illness will be borne disproportionately by the very pupils who lost out on so much face-to-face learning over the lockdown periods, undermining vital catch-up programmes.”

It finishes by urging MPs: “Use whatever means you can to raise with the government the need to bring back additional mitigation measures in schools.

“Keeping pupils in school has to be our top priority as we enter winter and this requires urgent action from government.”