Should schools return on 8 March?

Campaigns to close schools swept the nation in January. Weeks later, parents are calling for a clear path to reopen all schools in England.

Signatures for a petition to keep schools closed until May are rising by the second. Petitioners are asking to wait until further in the vaccination process to consider opening schools.

Many parents are on the contrasting side and “desperate” for primary and secondary schools to reopen.

Nine education organisations, including the National Education Union, devised a joint statement on the wider opening of schools in England.

“We urge the Prime Minister to commit to 8 March only if the scientific evidence is absolutely clear that this is safe.”

“We are committed to bringing all children and young people back into the classroom as soon as possible. However, it is counterproductive if there is a danger of causing another surge in the virus, and the potential for a further period of lockdown.”

Fully reopening schools will bring nearly 10 million staff and pupils out of homes in England. The education organisations believe “this is not a small easing of lockdown”.

Schools in Wales and Scotland see younger primary school years returning to schools from 22 February.

Scotland’s Education Secretary, John Swinney, told BBC The Sunday Show, “I do believe it is safe to do what we’re doing. I base that view on the very detailed clinical analysis that’s been prepared for us by our education clinical advisory group that was published earlier in February.”

“What that demonstrated was that younger children were much less susceptible to the transmission of this virus. We’ve got to look at all of the evidence that supports such decisions, but we’ve also got to take the measures to ensure absolute safety within the school environment and that’s exactly what our guidance is designed to do.”

The prime minister is set to reveal plans on 22 February to reopen schools in England with a “road map” to bring the nation out of its current lockdown.

How are parents feeling about the potential school return?

Parents are keen to hear plans for their childrens education. Some embracing reopening on 8 March and others hoping for phased returns or to open in April or May.

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