Thurrock schools must prove they’re safe before reopening, says UNISON

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Thurrock schools must prove they’re safe before reopening, says UNISON

SCHOOLS must prove their plans are safe before welcoming in more students, warns UNISON as classrooms are set to reopen tomorrow (Monday).

UNISON has written to schools and academies across Thurrock, asking to see plans and risk assessments to ensure that they can reopen safely for staff, students and their families.

Fewer than half of schools have responded with their risk assessments.

Employers should be providing staff with updated risk assessments before expanding pupil numbers, says UNISON. Worried staff should contact their union.

Of those that have replied a number have carried out full and comprehensive risk assessments and provided detailed plans on keeping staff and pupils safe both in the classroom and on the commute, says UNISON.

Others have said they’re not reopening tomorrow (Monday) because they cannot guarantee it will be safe to do so.

UNISON and other education unions have argued that 1 June is too soon for wider opening and warns that many schools will not be ready.

The Independent SAGE group of scientists backed up this view last week, urging the government to pause its plans.

UNISON Thurrock branch secretary Peter Sansom said: “Many of our schools are taking a sensible approach to reopening.

“Some are refusing to rush open for 1 June while others have put enough safety measures in place that minimise the risk of transmission.

“In particular we’d like to applaud the Osborne Co-operative Academy Trust, which has put thorough risk assessments in place to ensure teachers and support staff have enough social distancing and access to protective kit.

“But unfortunately nearly half of the schools in Thurrock have failed to provide us with risk assessments, despite government guidelines calling on schools to work with unions.

“Schools need to make sure they’ll keep staff, students and families safe before they throw open the doors.”

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