"Schools should not open until government shows evidence it is safe"

13 May 2020, 16:19

"Schools should not open until government shows evidence it is safe"

By Fiona Jones

Lib Dem spokesperson for education Layla Moran told LBC that scientific evidence must be provided by the government to prove it is safe before children return.

The Prime Minister announced in his new lockdown guidelines that schools will be reopened from June 1.

Layla Moran challenged the education secretary Gavin Williamson to provide evidence that it was safe for children to return next month.

She said it is "irresponsible to publish plans and suggest timetables without disclosing all scientific advice".

Ms Moran told LBC that while teachers want children to go back to school as quickly as possible, and there is concern for vulnerable or disadvantaged children, "we have to be sure it is safe."

"I am skeptical in the scientific sense that we've been convinced of the safety, [Gavin Williamson] has said that the scientific advice is showing unequivocally that this is the right thing to do now... but he hasn't published it."

Ms Moran also questioned Mr Williamson whether the risk assessments he has pledged to enforce for schools will be publicly available. Furthermore, she asked him, "If a head decides to do something different to the guidance off the back of a risk assessment, do they have that discretion?"

The answers were "very unclear," she said, people want convinced it is safe for children to return to school and "we're not quite there."

"The government has much more to do to ensure every single person in decisions, the teachers, the parents...is sure that everyone involved is safe."

Teachers union have also called for a delay to schools reopening until a "full roll-out of a national test and trace scheme" is in place and extra supplies for cleaning and protective equipment.

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