It may be possible for primary schools across the UK to reopen at the start of next month, but does that mean that parents/carers are happy to allow their children to go?
On Sunday evening, for the first time in eight weeks since UK lockdown was put in place amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, restrictions we loosened and new public guidance was issued.
After Prime Minister Boris Johnson addressed the nation directly to convey a number of matters, one that struck a particular chord with parents and carers everywhere was the indication that it may be possible for primary schools to begin reopening for early years, Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 children to return to from as early as the start of next month.
Understandably, it’s created mass public debate this week.
With different points of view continuing to be expressed across the board and one headteacher even writing a letter to parents to express his thoughts in a now viral letter, people have been keen to have their say.
Today, a joint statement was released by an alliance of nine school teachers’ unions, including the National Education Union and the National Association of Head Teachers, which rejected the plans for a phased return of primary school pupils after half term stating that it was still too early to be safe.
The unions called for a delay until a “full roll-out of a national test and trace scheme” was in place and extra resources for cleaning, protective equipment and risk assessments are readily available.
The statement said that: “classrooms of four and five-year olds could become sources of COVID-19 transmission and spread. We call on the government to step back from the 1st June and work with us to create the conditions for a safe return to schools.”
On the flip side, Education Secretary Gavin Williamson told MPs in the House of Commons today that opening schools was the “responsible” course of action now that the virus was “past the peak” and that safety was uppermost in how it was being planned.
He stated that: “The best place for children to be educated and to learn is in school” and indicated that pupils may begin to fall behind in their education otherwise.
Here at The Manc, we always want to know where you stand.
We are aware that many parents/carers across the borough and beyond will undoubtedly be feeling a mixed bag of emotions at the prospect of schools potentially reopening next month and we wanted to gather your thoughts on this topic.
So, we took to Twitter to ask you, our loyal audience of Mancunians – ‘If the government declares that UK primary schools can open next month, will you feel comfortable sending your child in?‘ – and this is how you reacted.
In just over three hours since posing the question live on our poll, we have received 313 votes (at the time of writing) and according to the standings, voters generally leaned towards expressing discomfort at potential Primary School re-openings.
75.4% of voters stated that they wouldn’t be happy sending their child into school, should institutions resume teaching next month, whereas only 24.6% of voters indicated that they would feel comfortable in doing so.
Here’s a selection of responses we received from members of the public wishing to elaborate their response:
Are you keen to have your say?
If you’ve not yet had the chance to respond our poll, then there is still time to cast your vote. Head on over to @TheMancUK on Twitter to take part, leave your thoughts and discuss matters with other Mancunians in the same position as you.
For the latest information, guidance and support during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in the UK, please do refer to the gov.uk website here.