Return to school must be safe, sensible and managed

A phased return to the classroom would re-assure pupils, schools and parents

Too many questions marks remain, and not enough guidance is in place, to be able to say with confidence that a full return to school this week, is either safe or sensible.

The return to school in Scotland, earlier this month, has already seen 18 cases of Covid 19 among pupils and teachers.

Teachers, school support staff and their unions as well as many parents  have expressed serious concerns about an absence of consultation , insufficient resources and inadequate guidance from the Minister and the Department of Education.

Of course it is important that our children return to school and that our education system continues to function, but it must be done safely, appropriately and with the maximum input from those in the front line.

If that means that, for a period, some children have to be taught on line or via distance learning , then that is what is required. In that scenario access to the internet and suitable tablets or laptops must be funded and guaranteed for all children and families who need it.

We have seen what happened with exam results when the Minister and others failed to place their trust in teachers. We are in danger of repeating those mistakes, but this time with potentially much more serious consequences.

A phased return to the classroom, backed up by all the necessary resources, and guided by the knowledge and expertise of teaching staff, classroom assistants, support staff and others would allow for informed risk management , corrective action as necessary and re-assurance for pupils, schools and parents.

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