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Union sounds alert on plan to get pupils back to class

PARENTS and teachers must be given ‘greater clarity’ on the plan to reopen schools amid a rise in Covid-19 cases, a teachers’ union has said.

Boris Johnson has previously pledged all pupils in England will return to class in September. But after the PM announced on Friday that he was slowing the pace of lockdown easing, NASUWT general secretary Patrick Roach said schools needed ‘clarification’ on the reopening.

The union’s general secretary said a warning from chief medical officer Prof Chris Whitty, that Britain is ‘near the limit’ of what can safely be done to open up society, will prompt questions for parents and teachers.

‘If schools are to reopen safely, the government will need to give them clarification about what they need to do to take account of the latest scientific advice, as well as sufficient time to review and, if necessary, adjust their reopening plans,’ he told The Observer.

The Department of Education said: ‘We have set out the controls schools should use, including cleaning and hygiene measures, to reduce the risk of transmission of the virus. This does not include the wearing of face coverings as we believe the system adequately reduces the risk of transmission.’

Prof Graham Medley, of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies, has said ministers might have shut pubs as a ‘trade-off’ so schools can reopen.