‘Too soon and not safe’ - Hertfordshire union’s message on school reopenings

Nursery, Reception, Years 1 and 6 are set to return to school on Monday, June 1. Picture: Getty Imag

Nursery, Reception, Years 1 and 6 are set to return to school on Monday, June 1. Picture: Getty Images/Fuse - Credit: Getty Images/Fuse

A Hertfordshire–based trade union has denounced the government’s plan to reopen some schools from June 1, saying it is both “too soon” and “not safe” for teachers, support staff and pupils.

The National Education Union’s Hertfordshire branch has decried the decision to allow Nursery, Reception and Year 1 and 6 pupils to return, and suggested a five point plan for the government to follow before kids are allowed to return to school.

The five tests the NEU would like the government to meet include the general lowering of case numbers to ensure contact tracing is viable and a plan for social distancing in schools.

They are also asking for a “comprehensive system” for virus testing in schools, strategy for dealing with potential COVID–19 outbreaks and continued protection for vulnerable or at risk staff and students.

The union say they believe the safety of children and staff must come first, and do not believe June 1 is an appropriate date to begin reopening parts of schools across our county.

Barhey Singh, one of NEU Hertfordshire’s joint district secretaries, said: “We believe this date is too soon and that it is not safe to reopen.”

Citing support from the Independent Scientific Advisory Group, NEU Hertfordshire referenced June 15 as a potential reopening date, as they say the number of cases will be much lower and the government’s contact tracing procedure will be working more effectively.

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Joyce Field, NEU Herts’ district secretary, added: “Your children should be in school, but we must get it right and they must be safe.

“We believe very strongly that June 1 is too soon and we are asking the government to work with trade unions to establish a plan that we can all agree.”

NEU Hertfordshire are urging those who support their ideas to write to their local MPs.