Safely Reopening Schools

March 21, 2021 11:00 AM
By Daisy Cooper
Originally published by UK Liberal Democrats

On the 8th March 2021, schools and colleges in England re-opened, in full, to 10 million people. Yet the Government has not taken nearly enough steps to make sure they are safe for pupils and teachers. We are calling for additional measures to enable schools to fully reopen safety.

Today Liberal Democrat members championed a motion outlining real safety measures, prioritising pupils, teachers and parents.

We have listened to the concerns of the NEU, Association of School and College Leaders, National Association of Head Teachers and others - as well as worried parents up and down the county.

Our motion recommends:

  • Empowering schools to use rotas, enabling social distancing in classrooms.
  • Trusting school leaders to decide the best way to open schools and keep them open safely (subject to the approval of local Public Health Directors).

  • Distributing additional funding to schools and local authorities to implement measures to reduce the risk of virus transmission, such as additional school transport so that bubbles are respected, ventilation units for every classroom and additional cleaning.

  • Issuing guidance on the use of fines for non-attendance at school, exempting pupils who live with someone clinically extremely vulnerable.

Read the full motion here: libdems.org.uk/f21b-full-reopening-of-schools

We sympathise with the enormous disruption to their education that young people have already experienced. They have spent months isolated from their peers, while parents have been exhausted from the colossal efforts of juggling home schooling and their own work.

The Liberal Democrats agree that fully reopening schools is vitally important. But we need measures to ensure that as schools fully re-open, they can stay open safely - for good.