“He followed the instinct of any parent”
That was the Prime Minister talking about his top aide, Dominic Cummings, who broke his own lockdown restrictions he advocated for, at the height of the pandemic in the UK.
Cummings travelled from London to Durham to his parent’s farm, which he claims was essential as his wife was coming down with COVID-19 symptoms.
Cummings claimed, his travel was essential so that he could have childcare for his young child. This was just in case Cummings himself contracted COVID-19 like his wife, which a day later he did. In Sunday’s press conference, the Prime Minister came to Cummings’ defence stating he acted “responsibly, legally and with integrity” but, with the reopening of schools in England starting in June. Should parents be acting with integrity and not send their children to school until it is completely safe to do so.
On Sunday, apart from announcing he will stand by Mr. Cummings. The Prime Minister announced that he is going ahead with his plans to reopen schools. On Monday 1st June, nurseries and primary schools will go back for the reception, year 1 and year 6 pupils and then a few weeks later on Monday 15th June, secondary schools will open up to year 10 and year 12 pupils who face exams in 2021.
With this announcement, many questions have been raised by parents and teachers wondering is it even safe to send children back to school and wondering are schools even prepared to start accepting pupils again.
Kevin Courtney, joint secretary of the National Education Union (NEU) said that the union did not agree that it would be right to reopen more widely. On its website, the NEU has set its 5 tests that need to be passed before schools should reopen again:
Test 1 – Much lower numbers of COVID-19 cases.
Test 2 – A national plan for social distancing.
Test 3 – Testing, testing, testing.
Test 4 – Whole School strategy.
Test 5 – Protection for the Vulnerable.
Over the Country, more and more schools and parents are joining forces in a campaign to stop the reopening of schools, starting on June 1st. Right now, it is not certain how many parents will send their children back to school and whether they will use their instinct by keeping their children away from school, until its completely safe to do so.
The Prime Minister has said in the next few days, he will reveal how the UK Government will go about phase 2 of lifting lockdown. including more information about schools. But, will that be enough to get parents to send their children back to the classroom?