Government must use the time schools are closed to make them safer

Everyone wants schools to reopen fully but they must be safe

The government mustn’t squander the time between now and early March to improve the safety of schools for pupils and staff, says UNISON today (Wednesday).

Everyone wants schools to reopen fully as soon as possible, but this must be safely, says the union. Today’s announcement buys valuable time for ministers to work with unions to make sure that when schools do finally open to all children, they stay open, adds UNISON.

Offering the vaccine to all school employees as well as a regular system of mass testing of staff and pupils are key to getting schools back to normal, UNISON says.

UNISON head of education Jon Richards said: “Everyone wants to see schools fully reopen, but not at the cost of people’s health.

“The government must work with the people on the education frontline – teachers, teaching assistants, caretakers, caterers and all school staff – to ensure safety isn’t sacrificed and the damaging cycle of opening only to close days later is broken.”

Notes to editors:
– UNISON is the UK’s largest union, with more than 1.3 million members providing public services – in education, local government, the NHS, police service and energy. They are employed in the public, voluntary and private sectors.

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