The Liberal Democrats are backing calls for all primary schools to move to remote learning until 18 January and urged Ministers to use that time to "get ahead of the virus" and publish a clear plan to open schools safely.
While the Party wants schools to remain open for vulnerable children and those of key-workers, Liberal Democrat Deputy Leader and Education Spokesperson Daisy Cooper has warned the Tories have "squandered every opportunity to get ahead of the virus" " and are "wreaking havoc on people's lives".
The intervention comes amidst growing concern for safety in schools, including headteachers launching legal action to force ministers to reveal data behind the decision for some schools to reopen.
The Liberal Democrats are urging the Government to review testing strategies in schools and publish a plan that includes a move to single-school transport and a new pupil bubbling strategy to tackle the new more transmissible strain.
Liberal Democrat Deputy Leader and Education Spokesperson Daisy Cooper said:
"With the government's own scientific advisors saying that they cannot provide any analysis on what is required to control the new strain of the virus until mid-January, the Government must think again and adopt a plan to get ahead of the virus.
"Time and time again, this Government has squandered opportunities to get ahead of the virus in schools and left pupils, parents and teachers understandably anxious if not terrified about returning next week.
"For months, Liberal Democrats have been calling on the Government to come up with a proper plan to keep schools open safely. Instead, this latest botched decision and the Tories top-down attitude has once again led to last minute and inconsistent decisions that are wreaking havoc on people's lives.
"Given this new strain of the virus transmits faster, Ministers must think again to get ahead of the virus.
"Moving primary schools to remote learning until 18 January would create time to work out new pupil bubbling strategies, ensure that all school-transport is single-school only, and build trust in the Government's school COVID testing strategy so schools can open safely."
Printed (hosted) by Prater Raines Ltd, 98 Sandgate High Street, Folkestone CT20 3BY
Published and promoted by Rochdale Liberal Democrats, 144 Drake Street, Rochdale OL16 1PS
The views expressed are those of the publisher, not of the service provider.
Website designed and developed by Prater Raines Ltd, with modifications by Rochdale Liberal Democrats