Coronavirus: Government says schools are safe and children will be back in September

The government is adamant schools will be safe to open in September, amid claims it has not given enough clarity to teachers over new procedures to combat the spread of coronavirus.

Most schools closed at the end of March as the UK went into lockdown, although some remained open for children of key workers and for vulnerable pupils.

More students were allowed to return to schools in England and Wales last month, with the government working towards opening schools as normal in the autumn.

“We have to get children back to school in September,” Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick said on Sunday.

“It’s so important for the future of our children and for the whole country that they have face to face contact, with their teachers, in the classroom.

“We’re working very closely with headteachers and the teaching unions to make sure that all the steps necessary are put in place over the summer so that children can go back in September – and it is an absolute priority for the government.”

Mr Jenrick added: “I believe that schools… will be safe, in September.”

However, teaching unions are demanding more clarity be given to schools, after Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a slowing down of the easing of lockdown.

Patrick Roach, general secretary of the NASUWT teaching union, told The Observer: “In light of recent changes to plans for relaxing lockdown measures, the government needs to provide greater clarity to school leaders, teachers and parents about what this will mean for the reopening of schools in September.”

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