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Source: Green Party of England and Wales

27 November 2020

The Green Party has called on Education Secretary Gavin Williamson to provide a plan for closing schools this Christmas that will ensure the spread of the coronavirus infection is kept to a minimum.

The latest figures from the Office of National Statistics suggest over the most recent week, the only group that has seen positive tests for coronavirus was secondary school-age children. [1]

Green Party Education Spokesperson Vix Lowthion has now called on the UK government to outline what its plans are to ensure there is as little risk of spreading the infection as possible once schools close for Christmas.

Lowthion, a secondary school teacher on the Isle of Wight, said:

“Families are desperate to see one another this Christmas and it is a tragic consequence of the pandemic that this brings with it an inevitable risk.

“However Gavin Williamson has so far not laid out any plans for protecting families this Christmas as they relax restrictions and schools close for the holiday.

“School-age children remain the only group that are still seeing a rise in infections, despite nearly four weeks of national lockdown. It was wrong to put children and their families in this position in the first place, but the government now has a duty of care to the country to ensure that it does all it can to mitigate the spread of infection over the Christmas period.”

In Wales, the UCAC teaching union has called on the Welsh Government to close schools early so pupils and teachers would not have to self-isolate on Christmas Day. [2]

Lowthion said:

“Closing schools early would allow staff and students to self-isolate before Christmas so they can feel more confident that they do not have coronavirus when they meet the rest of their family over the five days that restrictions have been relaxed.

“It is extremely worrying, yet no great surprise, that this education secretary appears to have done nothing to plan for this situation yet.”

ENDS

Notes

1

https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/healthandsocialcare/conditionsanddiseases/bulletins/coronaviruscovid19infectionsurveypilot/26november2020#age-analysis-of-the-number-of-people-in-england-who-had-covid-19

2

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-55095175

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