Further concerns have been raised on the Isle of Wight about the reopening of primary and special schools to all pupils from tomorrow (Monday).
The Isle of Wight Conservative administration say they are following the Government guidance and intend for the schools to reopen to all pupils.
However, this weekend Isle of Wight members of the union, UNISON, have been advised that, “given the current situation involving a much faster spread of the new Coronavirus strain, it is unsafe to open schools at this stage and that there should be a delay in opening for a minimum of two weeks in order to bring Primary and Special Schools in line with the situation in Secondary Schools”.
Different approach for London schools
Meanwhile, opposition councillors have stepped up to share their concerns.
He said that a further statement of the Isle of Wight council’s position is needed in light of the difference in government approach to Tier 4 Isle of Wight schools from other Tier 4 areas, particularly London.
Garratt: IWC have two choices
Cllr Garratt suggested there are two choices for the council:
- support the national guidance; if this is said, then the reason for saying so should be backed up with an assessment of the confidence the council has in that guidance and evidence provided for that view based on an analysis of local data
- call on the government to extend its approach in London, and some other Tier 4 areas, and delay the general opening of primary schools
He told Cllr Brading,
“I favour and would advise the second option. I do so on the balance of probabilities noting, among things, what it says in the SAGE minutes relating to analysis of the introduction of Tier 4 measures combined with school holidays informing the strength of measures required to control the new variant.
“A delay would allow for analysis and, seems to me, a sensible precaution until there is a proper understanding of what the data shows for transmission in schools.
“I hope that you will take the same view and add your voice to those urging the government to make this decision.”
Love: Can’t support reopening of schools
Cllr Karl Love (Ind councillor for East Cowes) told News OnTheWight,
“I cannot support the government’s message of returning pupils to school at this time after seeing the latest increase.
“In light of the significant rise of Covid-19 numbers in my ward, in order to help protect people and families where life is the most important thing of all, if I had any I would not be allowing a child of mine to return to school at this time.
“It’s not just a case of them being at school, it is a case of putting them at risk when walking to school and returning home. Every family has a complicated inter generation relationship.”
Rising opposition to Gov plans
On Saturday the National Education Union advised its members of their ‘legal right to refuse to work in unsafe conditions’, a move which its anticipated will lead to many staff advising their headteachers that they are only prepared to work from home should schools reopen to all pupils – and not just those of keyworkers or ‘looked after’ children.