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Teachers ‘sick with worry’ over infection risk from pupils

Walking dread: Primary school pupils in Cheshire PICTURE: PA

BORIS JOHNSON faced a mutiny from primary school teachers who had been ordered back to school yesterday — with one headteacher saying she had been ‘sick with anxiety’.

Speaking before he announced new lockdown measures, the PM insisted the risk to teachers ‘is no different to anybody else’, but heads warned that fear was stalking the corridors and Scotland ordered all its schools to shut amid soaring infection rates.

Bryony Baynes, headteacher at Kempsey Primary School in Warwick, said: ‘I feel sick with anxiety.

Safety fears: Headteacher Bryony Baynes PICTURE: BBC

‘He’s absolutely wrong. If you’ve got a four-year-old who has fallen over in the playground and is dripping with snot and tears and everything else you have got to comfort them. The risk to primary teachers is greater than the risk to secondary teachers because we can’t social distance.’

Primary schools were shut across much of south-east England and the north-west yesterday as the number of new infections surged past 50,000 for the seventh day. But many in Tier 4 areas had been expected to open and dozens of headteachers around the country closed their schools as teaching unions united to demand a nationwide shutdown.

‘My teachers have all come in despite union pressure not to,’ said Ms Baynes. ‘They are determined to do their best.’

She said parents had told her they would keep their children at home, adding: ‘A lot of my staff are young. If the government sticks to the plan, they won’t get their vaccinations for months and months.

‘And how is that right? I totally understand the need to vaccinate front line workers in the NHS, but I think teachers need to be up there.’