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Reopening schools risks playing 'Russian Roulette' with staff & children health

13 May 2020
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The Secretary of State said he’s is being guided by the evidence - we demand to see the evidence 

GMB, the union for school support staff, has warned the Government’s plans to reopen schools risks playing ‘Russian roulette” with staff and children’s health. 

The union has called for an urgent meeting with the Secretary of State for Education in England, Gavin Williamson MP, to discuss the evidence and concerns. 

The main education unions sent a joint letter to the Education Secretary outlining the six tests that needs to be met to ensure a safe return to schools for staff and pupils. 

GMB argues whilst staff are keen to return to work and normality, there can be no risks to staff and pupil’s health. 

Employers and the Government will have to carry out thorough risk assessments as well as put in place measures to ensure that the risk to staff is eliminated and minimised.

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Karen Leonard, GMB National Officer, said:  

“The Secretary of State for Education said he’s is being guided by the evidence. Well GMB demands he shows us that evidence.  

“Schools across Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland have no plans to widen their opening of school, yet this Government is playing Russian roulette with the lives of our school support staff  - and children - in England.  

“GMB’s position is clear. Whilst school staff are keen to get back to work, we need guarantees that employers and the Government will put measures in place to eliminate and minimise risks to staff in catching the virus.  

“Right now, we haven’t had those assurances, so we’re asking for an urgent meeting with the Secretary of State to convey our concerns before we move any further towards opening schools.” 

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