A worrying lack of evidence about the safety of reopening schools

An empty classroom

Image by Wokandapix from Pixabay.

The Department of Education’s chief scientific adviser has not made any assessment on how effective the guidance on safe reopening of schools in England is or how it might be implemented.

As the BBC reports:

The government’s top scientific and medical advisers are being urged to publish the advice underpinning the decision to reopen England’s schools.

Liberal Democrat Layla Moran made the call in a letter to Chris Whitty and Sir Patrick Vallance.

On Wednesday, MPs were bemused when a Department for Education adviser indicated a lack of oversight over the way schools are being asked to reopen.

Osama Rahman said the decision to reopen schools was not made by the DfE.

When asked what assessment he had made, as the chief scientific adviser for the department, of how effective guidance on safe reopening of schools was and how it might be implemented, he said: “I haven’t.”…

He was also unable to point to any evidence behind the decision to reopen schools in a way that could be said to be safe.

That’s a worrying response from Osama Rahman, and shows the value of a functioning Parliament in which MPs can effectively hold the government to account.

More on this from BBC News:

2 responses to “A worrying lack of evidence about the safety of reopening schools”

  1. As a school governor, I can say that my school head has spent huge effort with her staff planning for an opening as instructed by government; she is worried and says it is a nightmare. I am in communication with Layla.

  2. in the same way as the Tory Govt thought it ok for the NHS to go to work without PPE, they now expect teachers to do something just as risky. Anyone involved with children can tell you that they carry any disease that is anywhere in the community the school serves. Classrooms are incubators for the children’s minds but also for bacteria. Schools should not be back to any sort of normal until every adult working on the premises has been immunised and the premises deep cleaned. They cannot just open the doors and re-start.
    When they do, classes should be no more than 15 pupils, and sessions being no more than 3hrs per day. Classrooms will need cleaning between sessions as classes change over.
    I have, just there, done more planning about this proposal than the Education Minister has, and it is a typical below the belt Tory trick to try to call it a political squabble.

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