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Lib Dems Back Remote Learning For Primary Pupils to Create ‘Safety Window’

Published on: 4 Jan, 2021
Updated on: 4 Jan, 2021

Zöe Franklin

Zöe Franklin, the Guildford & Cranleigh Lib Dem spokesperson, is calling for all primary schools to move to remote learning until January 18, giving Whitehall time to “get ahead of the virus” and come up with a clear plan to open schools safely.

Lib Dems want schools to remain open for vulnerable children and those of key-workers, but party deputy leader Daisy Cooper, the Education spokesperson, warned the Tories have “squandered every opportunity to get ahead of the virus” and “wreaking havoc on people’s lives”.

The party wants a government review of testing strategies in schools, with a plan that includes a move to single-school transport and a new pupil “bubbling” strategy to tackle the new, more transmissible strain.

Ms Franklin said: “I fully support the calls from my parliamentary colleagues, from education unions and public health experts including Sage, who are calling on the government to move primary schools to remote learning and bring them in line with secondary schools.

“The science has been clear for some time that schools are one of the ways Covid can spread between households. With the R rate well above 1, and with the new, highly infectious strain of Covid circulating, we cannot afford further delay.

“The government needs to act decisively and move primary schools to remote learning until mid-January, by which point government advisers are saying they will be able to analyse what is required to control the new strain.

“I have full confidence local school heads and their staff will do everything in their power to protect our children and young people. But I am deeply concerned the government’s decision to keep primary schools open will cause problems for our local NHS services and the wider community.

“Parents and school staff are posting comments on social media that they are anxious about the return to school this week.

“For Surrey County Council, our local education authority, to be abdicating their responsibility and sitting on their hands is not good enough.

“The council and our local MPs should be using their influence and backing any and all local heads who take the decision to delay in-person teaching.

“Moving primary schools to remote learning until January 18 would create time to work out new pupil ‘bubbling’ strategies, ensure all school transport is single-school only, and build trust in the government’s testing so schools can open safely.”

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