Covid-19: School Reopening

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:34 pm on 13th May 2020.

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Photo of Carol Monaghan Carol Monaghan Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Armed Forces and Veterans), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Education) 12:34 pm, 13th May 2020

Although young children seem to be less susceptible to covid-19, Professor Graham Medley told the Select Committee on Science and Technology:

“It is still not clear what the role of children is in transmission.”

So what new evidence does the Secretary of State have on the ability of children to transmit, and will he publish it? When the Scottish Government recently published detailed proposals for reopening schools, with a mixture of home and school learning, his colleague the First Secretary of State said that that would cause hospitals to be overwhelmed, so why is England considering this reckless full reopening of primary schools?

Finally, if the ambition is to bring all primary year groups back before the summer holidays, with a maximum of 15 pupils per class, where are the extra teachers going to come from? As most schools do not have rooms lying empty, where are the additional classrooms coming from? Will he reassure teachers and school staff that they will not be expected to make or provide their own personal protective equipment?