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Commenting on the publication of the Welsh Government’s operational guidance for schools on reopening more widely to more pupils, Dr Patrick Roach, General Secretary of the NASUWT-The Teachers’ Union, said:

“The NASUWT has serious concerns about the lack of clarity in the operational guidance issued to schools by the Welsh Government and whether it will ensure that all schools and local authorities adopt safe working practices.

“In light of the equivocal nature of the scientific evidence regarding social distancing in schools and the risk of virus transmission by children, teachers and parents will rightly question how the Welsh Government is able to conclude that it is safe for schools to return on 29 June.

“The Welsh Government must not press ahead with its plans for the wider reopening of schools unless it can demonstrate it is safe to do so.

“The NASUWT is committed to continuing to work with ministers and employers to address the challenges and to find practical solutions to maintaining education provision throughout this crisis.”

Neil Butler, NASUWT National Official for Wales, said:

“We remain in a public health emergency and the Welsh Government must lead by offering firm direction to local authorities and schools on the clear steps they need to take to ensure that schools are safe and the risks to pupils and teachers are minimised.

“This must begin with ensuring robust risk assessments and health and safety checks on schools that have stood empty for many weeks. This advice is presently sadly lacking from the guidance. If they cannot even ensure that schools are getting these basic steps right then the Welsh Government cannot continue with its plans for wider reopening.

“The NASUWT has put local authorities on notice of their legal obligations on protecting the health and safety of teachers. The welfare of our members and the pupils they teach remains our top priority.”

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