Clive Lewis is backing a joint statement by local branches of the Unison, GMB, NASUWT and NEU unions which concludes the government’s planned reopening of schools today 1st June is unsafe. The Labour MP for Norwich South is urging parents to keep their children home until there is credible evidence that opening schools again is safe for pupils, staff and local communities.

The joint union statement is attached and demands that five tests are met before schools commit to increased opening. Amongst other things, the unions and Clive Lewis are pressing for explicit scientific confirmation that reopening will not increase transmission of Covid-19, for a full and successful rollout of track and trace and for clear strategies to safeguard the most vulnerable pupils and staff.

Clive Lewis said:

“Like these unions, all of which have members at risk, I am anxious that opening schools to more children from today could lead to another swell in Covid-19 infections.

All of the indicators are flashing that it is too early to open schools again. SAGE scientists independent of the government are clear the level of infectivity across the country is too high to take that risk now. Robust testing systems are not in place.

The scenario for re-opening schools today hasn’t even been modelled by the government’s own scientists and Scottish, Northern Irish and Welsh governments aren’t unpadlocking the school gates next week. Boris Johnson is once again wilfully going it alone and putting thousands of pupils, school staff and our communities at risk on a wing and a prayer.

That’s why, as their MP, I’m appealing to all constituents whose children are not already at school, to keep them at home until the five tests in the statement are met.”