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Coronavirus UK: NAHT hopes schools open before summer if safe

Schools should reopen BEFORE six-week summer holidays if it is safe to do so, headteachers say

  • Heads says schools should reopen before the Summer holidays if it is safe  
  • Reopening schools will have to be planned and phased, say teacher unions
  • Research suggests closing schools  reduces death rate by two to four per cent  
  • Learn more about how to help people impacted by COVID

Schools should reopen even if it’s for a short time before the summer holidays if it is safe to do so, headteachers have said. 

The National Association of Head Teachers’ general secretary, Paul Whiteman, said: ‘Once the scientific advice is that schools can return safely they should do so.

‘Even if it’s for a very limited period before the summer break as this will allow young people to reacquaint themselves with the educational environment.’ 

But he also said that there has been no indication that schools will reopen in the short term because of social distancing requirements still in place. 

The NAHT warned schools that reopening will have to be a phased and planned  process.   

‘Any return to normality has to be a planned one. It can’t be about flicking a switch on a Friday night and then thinking it’s all going to be all right on a Monday morning,’ said Whiteman. 

The National Association of Head Teachers’ general secretary, Paul Whiteman (pictured right), said schools should reopen even if it’s for a short time before the summer holidays if it is safe to do so. Joint general secretary of the National Education Union, Kevin Courtney (pictured left), said that speculation about reopening schools might make people stop taking other social distancing restrictions seriously

Joint general secretary of the National Education Union, Kevin Courtney, agreed that reopening schools would have to be slowly phased but also said that speculation about reopening schools might make people stop taking other social distancing restrictions seriously. 

 ‘We think such speculation is unhelpful because if people believe schools are reopening soon then they will be more likely to avoid other restrictions. 

‘It’s vital that we stay indoors as much as possible to depress the spread of the virus,’ said Courtney. 

'Once the scientific advice is that schools can return safely they should do so. Even if it's for a very limited period before the summer break as this will allow young people to reacquaint themselves with the educational environment,' Said Paul Whiteman

'We think such speculation is unhelpful because if people believe schools are reopening soon then they will be more likely to avoid other restrictions. It's vital that we stay indoors as much as possible to depress the spread of the virus,' said Kevin Courtney

Both the  National Association of Head Teachers and the Education Union agree that reopening schools will have to be planned and phased

Earlier this week University College London published research that said that school closures were the least effective out of all social distancing measures. 

According to the paper closing schools reduces coronavirus deaths by only two to four per cent. 

Amoung the reasons for this is that children, unlike flu outbreaks, are not the main drivers of the coronavirus infection. 

When schools do eventually reopen they should consider closing playgrounds, keeping social distance in classrooms and having different start and break times for each year, the paper advised. 

 A spokesman for the Department for Education said said: ‘Schools will remain closed until further notice, except for children of critical workers and the children who are most vulnerable.

‘We will reopen schools when the scientific advice indicates it is safe to do so.’

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk