ASCL comment on PM’s decision to delay easing of lockdown

14/06/2021
Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, comments on the Prime Minister’s decision to delay the further easing of coronavirus restrictions.
 
Commenting on the Prime Minister’s decision to delay the further easing of coronavirus restrictions, Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said:
 
“This decision will be very disappointing for many people, and we do not underestimate the impact on the hospitality and entertainment industries. However, on educational grounds, it does seem the right approach because any general easing of restrictions will lead to more social mixing, more transmission of the virus in the population, and more disruption as children and young people contract the illness and other pupils who are close contacts then have to self-isolate.
 
“We have already seen an increase in Covid-related pupil absence, and there is tremendous concern about the impact of the Delta variant. A four-week delay to the roadmap out of lockdown will take us to the summer holiday period which will provide a natural firebreak, and give additional time for the vaccination programme to roll out.
 
“There will be a further decision to be made in due course about the possibility of vaccinations for secondary school pupils and this question is to be considered by the Joint Council for Vaccination and Immunisation. If this can be done safely and effectively, it should help to minimise future disruption to education, but we appreciate that the arguments are finely balanced.”