ASCL comment on go ahead for wider opening of schools

ASCL comment on today’s government confirmation of the wider opening of schools from Monday.
Commenting on today’s government confirmation of the wider opening of schools from Monday, Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said:
“The government’s confirmation that schools should begin to open to more pupils from Monday has been widely expected.
“The argument about whether this is the right thing to do will doubtlessly continue to rage, particularly given the fact that the test and trace system, vital to containing further outbreaks of the virus, has only just launched today.
“What is important now is that we all get behind our schools and support them in this very challenging situation.
“It is important to understand that many primary schools will not be open to all eligible pupils on Monday morning, and that they will be phasing in these children over a period of time, while putting in place limits on class sizes and implementing other safety measures.
“Schools are already open to vulnerable and key worker children, and it is now a case of carefully and cautiously expanding these numbers.
“There are significant logistical issues involved, including constraints on the physical space in schools, and the availability of staff, given that some will be self-isolating or in vulnerable categories.
“There is also likely to be a great deal of variability in how many parents send their children into schools. Added to this is the fact that local authorities are taking different approaches.
“All of this means the picture from Monday will vary widely between schools and areas according to local circumstances. We urge everybody to understand this is an extraordinary situation and to respect the decisions that are made by schools.
“It is also vital that schools receive prompt, clear and definitive public health advice as necessary in the event that infection rates increase in their area, or there are outbreaks of the virus in their school. They will need direction on precisely what to do in these circumstances.”