Parents fear reopening Islington primary schools will cause ‘second wave’ of Covid-19 infections

Education secretary Gavin Williamson, pictured at the University of Birmingham. Picture: Joe Giddens

Education secretary Gavin Williamson, pictured at the University of Birmingham. Picture: Joe Giddens/PA Wire - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

Parents and trade unions fear it won’t be safe to reopen primary schools next month and could “cause a second wave” of Covid-19.

Primary schools in Islington and across the UK are set to reopen as early as June 1, with kids in reception, Year 1 and Year 6 returning first.

Luke Jhugroo, 39, won’t be sending his six-year-old son back to Drayton Primary School because he’s vulnerable to the disease.

He told the Gazette: “I believe it’s going to cause a second wave of the virus due to children going back to school too early. “We should have a choice as parents. I totally understand if your a key worker or having financial difficulties and need to get back to work but I don’t want people to feel pressured into sending their children into which could be a potentially dangerous environment.

“The government should waive fines for school children not attending until this is all under control.

“My son suffers with breathing problems and has spent various weekends in hospital due to this so he wont be going back to school when they return as he’s vulnerable.”

Luke says he’s brought school books and has been keeping his son up to date with the curriculum at home.

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Islington National Education Union secretary Tony Buttifint added: “We agree with the British Medical Association (BMA) that the Government’s plan is too fast, too confusing and too risky. We don’t accept that schools can safely open more widely on June 1.

“So far the government has not engaged with the NEU to discuss any further advice on social distancing, testing in schools, PPE or about those who are vulnerable, including BME staff.

“No school or college can make plans based on the information we currently have from government.”

On Wednesday education secretary Gavin Williamson said: “The only consideration behind this decision is what is in the best interest of the welfare of children and those who work in schools.

“And we all recognise the importance of children being able to return to schools. And sometimes scaremongering and making people fear is really unfair and not a welcome pressure to be placed on families, children and teachers alike.”

Islington’s education chief Cllr Kaya Comer-Schwartz said: “We are awaiting further guidance from government on their proposals, and we urge the government to issue national plans around social distancing and other safety measures for schools.”