Demand the government review the DfE guidance for school reopenings.

Demand the government review the DfE guidance for school reopenings.

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Paul Gowler started this petition to Department for Education

The guidance issued this week by the DfE to advise schools on how to operate upon full reopening this September requires review as a matter of urgency. It abolishes social distancing for pupils and does not mandate PPE except in a small number of specific circumstances. While children have been shown to be at lower risk of developing severe symptoms of Covid-19, they are no less likely than adults to act as viral vectors and thus spread the virus to staff or family members who may be at risk. The guidance also makes no exceptions for pupils with health conditions that place them at greater risk of serious health complications should they contract Covid-19; the parents of these children will be fined simply for trying to protect their child's life. In addition, the guidance specifically states that schools are not allowed to implement measures that do not allow for operating at 100% capacity. What this all means, in addition to posing a clear danger to health is that teaching will become highly unpredictable, as rolling isolation and intermittent closures are almost a certainty. This will make an already incredibly stressful job even more stressful, exacerbating the mental health issues endemic amongst teachers. 

This is a time to pull together, but this guidance makes it clear that school staff are cannon fodder. It does not need to be this way. If guidance is written in consultation with school heads, school governers and education unions, as well as independent epidemiologists, then schools can reopen safely. Until then, reopening schools is dangerous.

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At 500 signatures, this petition is more likely to be featured in recommendations!