The Medway Labour and Co-operative Group is standing alongside trade unions, teaching staff and parents in calling for stronger safety measures in our schools. The set of steps that these groups have called for the government to take are as follows:

  • Providing air filtration devices for all schools reducing the risk of airborne transmission 
  • Face coverings in all areas of secondary schools, as is the case now in Wales and Scotland 
  • Support for close contacts required to isolate to reduce risk of Covid spreading. This must include full pay for parents and staff needing to isolate
  • Ensuring schools are given the resources to ensure effective contract tracing can take place

Mick Simpkin, GMB Regional Organiser said:

“GMB and its fellow unions are demanding that the Government recognises the risk posed to schools by the new Omicron variant, and we are taking steps to help protect pupils, their families, and all school-based workers from infection.

“We, as a union, consider health and safety a key part of what we do, and so are encouraging any concerned members of the public to visit our website and use the tool to write to their MP, demanding that additional safety measures be brought in, for everyone’s sake.” 

Cllr Clive Johnson, Medway Labour and Cooperative Group Spokesperson for Children’s Services, said:

“Our young people have been at the centre of the Covid pandemic over the past two years.  Yet again, government failures are putting them, their families and their education at risk. 

“As Covid figures are again rising and as, in Medway, only 59% of 16 and 17 year-olds and only 35% of 14 and 15 year-olds have had only one dose of vaccine, it is right that the GMB are taking this action today to highlight the dangers.  

“Medway Labour will always support schools, their workforce, our young people and their families to protect lives and education.”

Cllr Joanne Howcroft-Scott, Medway Labour and Cooperative Member of Medway Council’s Children and Young People Overview and Scrutiny Committee, said:

“As a former school senior leader, I know the pressures that the rising Covid threat and inadequate government guidance have caused for schools, school leaders and workers and for our young people over the pandemic.

“I have a real concern about low vaccination rates for young people and the threat of long Covid.  I fully support the action taken by the union today to protect the schools workforce and our young people.”

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