Labour backs calls for extra Covid-19 safety measures in schools

Labour's Rebecca Denness who has been nominated for the Ely South division

Labour's Rebecca Denness is once again standing for the Ely South division in the 2021 Cambridgeshire County Council elections. - Credit: South East Cambridgeshire Labour

South East Cambridgeshire Labour is backing calls for additional Covid-19 safety measures in schools and asking  ‘when will the Government learn from experience and take action to save our children from yet more disruption?’ 

Speaking on the day the Government’s early handling of the coronavirus pandemic was condemned as one of the worst public health failures in UK history, Rebecca Denness, South East Cambs Labour’s education spokesperson gave her view.  

She said: “Ministers are quick to shrug off blame for anything that went wrong, quick to claim credit for things that go well and slow to take action when it is so obviously needed.  

“The Government must act urgently to turn-around the escalating Covid crisis in our schools” 

“Despite our advantages of one being one of the first countries to develop a Covid test and having world-class expertise in data analysis, the Conservative Government converted this lead into one of permanent crisis. 

“A crisis that is still seen all too clearly in our schools today as 
Covid rates spiral and the promised secondary school vaccination programme has barely started. 

“Only just over a tenth of 12 to 15 year olds have been given a first dose of the vaccine despite a Government promise that everyone would be offered a jab by the October half-term. That’s less than two weeks away 

“I’ve lost count of the number of ministers who have been on the news excusing their failures in the early days of the pandemic by saying they were ‘just learning’.   

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“What about all the other countries that took swift and effective action that they failed to take lessons from? 

“But we are now into the third academic year where education is being disrupted.  When will they learn that fast and coordinated action is required? 

“I fully back the Education Unions who have written to the Secretary of State for Education calling for additional safety measures in schools. 

“It’s good that Cambridgeshire County Council has taken local action to recommend mitigations.

"We’ve been particularly badly hit here with nearly a quarter of our secondary pupils absent for Covid related reasons. 

“As well as disrupting study, children are at risk of long-Covid and suffer stress because of the risk of infecting their families.

"And of course, school staff are also caught up in the rising tide of illness. 

“Many other countries in Europe that have kept in place proportionate mitigation measures in schools have not experienced the back-to-school surge in cases that we have seen in England.  

“That is the basic lesson that the current Government does not seem willing or able to learn.  

“For the sake of our children, our school staff and the wellbeing of all of us we need a swift response.  

“Based on the previous (in)actions of this government, I fear that once again we will be let down.”