LONDON: 22 September 2021 – Kate Green, Shadow Secretary for Education of the United Kingdom, and Peter Kyle, MP for Hove, met with parent groups @SafeEdForAll_UK, @ShieldUs and @TheHive to discuss and agree on how to tackle the issues surrounding the lack of scientifically recognised mitigations in UK schools.
Stopping the turmoil in schools
Currently, record Covid absences are causing alarm in schools, with over 100,000 children missing school in England alone. When reporting on long Covid in children, the BMJ writes that one in seven children are left with symptoms 15 weeks after infection. And while child deaths to covid are relatively low. ONS figures showing an upward trend in Covid-19 child deaths. Compared to 25 children lost to Covid in 2020, the UK reported 88 children lost to Covid as of 20 September 2021. Government must suppress Covid transmission by putting mitigations in schools for the sake of children and their families.
A roadmap of internationally recognised, scientific mitigations
As a result of the meeting with @SafeEdForAll_UK, @ShieldUs and @TheHive, Labour has agreed to push forward 11 key points as part of their work in Covid recovery policy discussions:
- Publicly announce and campaign against punitive non-attendance measures.
- Publicly condemn the removal of CEV status from those who have clinical vulnerabilities.
- Send a clear message to the general public, schools & Department for Education that masks are an effective measure used worldwide by all ages to limit transmission in schools and would constitute best practice in the UK.
- Demand that all schools have an Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) assessor visit by the end of half term.
- Demand that all further Department for Education guidance is firmly grounded in H&S legislation and scientifically recognised infection control principles.
- Specifically, raise the issue with school leaders and Department for Education regarding lunchtime provision and mitigations required.
- Demand that schools conduct contact tracing.
- Insist that isolations of those who live with a person who has tested positive must still take place.
- As SARS-CoV2 is a notifiable disease, to demand that schools make parents and staff aware of confirmed cases.
- Overall demand equity of mitigations and information.
- Support in preventing any delay in providing the approved vaccines to those who can have and want them.
A spokesperson from Kate Green’s Office said, “Thank you to @SafeEdForAll_UK, @ShieldUs and @TheHive for meeting with Peter and Kate yesterday. We found the meeting very helpful and insightful. We will continue to work hard in pushing Government to ensure schools are COVID-safe, and we look forward to being updated on any future work.”
Sarah Saul from SafeEdForAll said, “We are extremely grateful for the opportunity to speak to both Kate and Peter together. It was a productive meeting allowing @SafeEdForAll_UK, @ShieldUs and @TheHive, to provide Peter Kyle and Kate Green with simple points to take forward to dramatically and swiftly improve the situation in our educational establishments. As always, we maintain that it isn’t morally or legally acceptable to unnecessarily and knowingly expose anyone to increased risk of Covid-19 infection.
Since November 2020 @SafeEdForAll_UK, has been raising awareness about the lack of Covid-19 safety in schools. We do not believe school should be closed. Instead, we advocate for robust, scientifically grounded mitigations in schools so education can be safe and accessible for ALL. Many of us have clinically vulnerable children or family members or are clinically vulnerable ourselves. Our members have relevant experience in advocacy, psychology, teaching, and science and carry out our work with no resources other than our spare time.