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Responding to comments from leading scientists that lockdown restrictions need to be stricter in order to get Coronavirus levels under control, Dr Patrick Roach, General Secretary of the NASUWT-The Teachers’ Union, said:

“A failure to implement in full the latest national lockdown restrictions risks further disruption to schools unless urgent action is taken by the Government.

“We have already seen too much disruption to children’s education in the last year and it is therefore essential that everything that can be done is done to prevent further disruption in schools and colleges.

“Further steps are needed to strongly encourage parents to keep children at home and keep themselves and others safe.

“Reducing the spread of the virus in the community is critical if we are to ensure that all schools can remain open safely. 

“However, the failure to ensure strict adherence to the national lockdown measures means that some schools are already reporting that the majority of parents are demanding places for their children during the current restrictions.

“That means we have many more children and adults mixing in schools than would be expected under this national lockdown and the risk of the virus being transmitted to others on their journeys to and from schools and during the school day remains high.

“The new Coronavirus variant is much more transmissible which means that much more needs to be done to ensure that the Government’s stay at home message is being followed.

“Ministers have to take responsibility for protecting public health. However, we have heard contradictory messages from the Government which is now resulting in the majority of children and staff in attendance at some schools.

“Many parents who want to keep themselves and their children safe are unable to do so for financial reasons and it is important that they have access to financial support to stay safe.

“The Prime Minister has been very clear to the country that schools do act as vectors for Coronavirus transmission and may cause the virus to spread between households. The Government has also urged the public to act like they have the virus.

“It is essential that Ministers do whatever it takes to ensure that parents can afford to keep their children at home and that children who need to do so are able to access their education safely from home.”

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