A new survey conducted by the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) has indicated that up to 97 percent of UK primary schools will fully reopen for the next term in England and Wales. The survey also indicated that a third of the schools that took part in the study indicated that they had no handwashing provisions or personal protective equipment (PPE) to help them navigate the learning without contracting coronavirus.
The majority of the students will have stayed home for more than five months when the UK implemented a lockdown to prevent the spread of coronavirus in the UK. although the government had planned on a short June reopening, the plan ended up being a disappointment and the government has placed all its efforts in ensuring that all students return to schools.
Study on UK primary schools
The study sample was 4,000 members of NAHT and it mostly compromised of the primary school sector. The sample group included 140 members from Wales, whose government has allowed a more flexible approach to reopening.
The NAHT general secretary, Paul Whiteman said that school staff had worked for months to ensure that schools will be reopened safely. He urged parents to not let the current political discourse to cloud their judgment and reduce their confidence in the safety of the schools. He said that teachers had taken all precautions necessary and hence it would be safe for students to return and urged parents to not feel afraid in releasing their children for an in-person class.
Whiteman also indicated that 69 percent of schools had already installed additional handwashing and hand sanitation infrastructure which will help in protecting the students and staff. He also indicated that 65 percent of schools had already made plans on supplying PPEs to their teaching staff. However, only 4 percent had made similar plans to supply PPEs to their students.
The study also indicated that 96 percent of schools had already made plans on regular school cleaning. It also showed that 96 percent of schools would move to implement class bubbles to ensure that they contain the spread of the virus in case a student is infected. 93 percent of schools had also made changes to how students will be taking their lunches and how they will interact during break times.
The study was a reflection of UK primary schools preparedness for the new school reopenings in September. The government has already warned parents who will fail to send their children to schools will be fined, and have indicated that all learning will be in-person.
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