{meta} ePetition - For Schools & Nurseries, Safety Must Come First.

ePetition details

We the undersigned petition the council to Salford City Council should publicly state that plans for the further opening of schools & nurseries will be guided by safety, not an arbitrary date. This means declaring its acceptance that settings cannot safely extend opening beyond provision for vulnerable and key worker children on 1st June, and that they therefore should not do so. The Council must use available powers to prevent unsafe openings and work with trade unions and parents to challenge providers who insist on going ahead before it is safe to do so.

Salford City UNISON is proud to represent school and nurseries workers throughout Salford.

We applaud the sacrifice and commitment they have displayed during the lockdown, in order to ensure support for vulnerable children and the children of key workers. They understand – as parents and workers – the challenges posed by restricting school opening, as do their trade unions.

Officers at Salford City Council have informed us that their message to settings, as we approach the 1st June, is that they should prioritise vulnerable children and the children of key workers, and only bring back other children and young people if it is deemed safe to do so.

We have no issue with the first part of this guidance. We want vulnerable children and the children of key workers to be able to attend school/nursery and our members in schools, nurseries and other parts of the Council are working hard to make this happen.

Our issue, is with the second part. Based on the views of our members, we do not believe that it is possible to further extend opening safely by 1st June.

We recognise that the Council is expecting all schools to complete a risk assessment and that this will need to be signed off by senior Council officers, but there are risks that schools and other settings cannot possibly overcome because they are beyond their control.

Here are just a few of the problems that Salford schools and nurseries cannot overcome – especially not on their own:

• The lack of clear knowledge about the impact of Covid-19 on children.
• The lack of clear knowledge on the extent to which children can spread the virus without displaying symptoms.
• The absence of testing for asymptomatic staff and children.
• The lack of contact tracing.
• How we tackle the disproportionate impact on particular members of our community, including those from black and other ethnic minority backgrounds.

Until progress is made on these issues, Salford schools and other education/childcare settings should not extend opening beyond vulnerable children and the children of key workers.

We therefore call upon Salford City Council and other providers to step back from an arbitrary date, to allow time for progress on these issues.

Salford City Council should publicly state that plans for the further opening of schools & nurseries will be guided by safety, not an arbitrary date. This means declaring its acceptance that settings cannot safely extend opening beyond provision for vulnerable and key worker children on 1st June, and that they therefore should not do so. The Council must use available powers to prevent unsafe openings and work with trade unions and parents to challenge providers who insist on going ahead before it is safe to do so.

Started by: Steven North (Salford City UNISON)

This ePetition ran from 21/05/2020 to 22/06/2020 and has now finished.

Nobody signed this ePetition.