Mary Kelly Foy has said that government proposals for reopening schools are “ill thought-out and reckless”, and warned that they could “set off a chain of new infections back into the households of working people”.
In an urgent question to the Education Secretary Gavin Williamson today, the MP for Durham City asked if it was right that school staff and their pupils “have to accept lower safety standards than you’d expect queuing at Tesco”.
In response, Williamson said that “sometimes scare-mongering and making people fear is really unfair and not a welcome pressure to be placed on family, children and teachers alike”.
"How can it be right that without any scientific evidence, school staff and their pupils have to accept lower safety standards than you'd expect queuing at Tesco?" asks Labour's Mary Foy
— BBC Politics (@BBCPolitics) May 13, 2020
Williamson also said during the questions session in the House of Commons that any teacher or pupil with symptoms of Covid-19 would be able to access a coronavirus test.
The department for education published initial guidance on Monday that outlined how the government, schools and other stakeholders in the sector will prepare to bring children back to school.
The National Education Union and Unison have both instructed their members not to engage with the plans released earlier in the week, which would see schools start to reopen from June 1st.
Shadow Chancellor Anneliese Dodds also voiced concerns, saying: “I would be more than happy to send my own child to school if I knew that by doing so I would not be potentially harming others. That’s the critical issue for me. And we don’t have that evidence, I feel, currently.”