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Commenting on the publication of the SAGE advice relating to the reopening of schools, Dr Patrick Roach, General Secretary of the NASUWT-The Teachers’ Union, said:

“The evidence presented by SAGE in terms of justifying the decision by Government to start to reopen schools from 1 June is inconclusive.

“The papers highlight the significant gaps in evidence, knowledge and understanding which remain in terms of the susceptibility of children to COVID-19 and how infectious those with mild and asymptomatic cases of the virus may be. 

“The Committee states that large-scale community testing is needed to better understand and monitor the prevalence of and susceptibility to COVID-19 in children, yet the Government’s plans for the reopening of schools from 1 June are premature whilst a widespread community testing system will not be in place.

“The SAGE papers published today will only add to teachers’ uncertainty and anxiety.

“Importantly, the Committee has concluded that interventions around preventing the spread of the virus must be eased in a logical manner.

“However, the arrangements for easing the current restrictions on schools have been far from logical and are yet to secure the confidence of parents and school staff.

“The NASUWT remains of the view that no school should reopen until it can be demonstrated that it is safe to do so. We remain ready to work with the Government on a way forward which will ensure that staff and pupils can return to schools safely.”

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