Have your say on government e-petitions

Delay the reopening of schools to September

Submitted by Johnny Smith on Friday 24th April 2020

Published on Tuesday 26th May 2020

Current status: Open

Open until: Thursday 26th November 2020

Current Signatures: 44,546
(count is updated approximately hourly)

Relevant Departments

Tagged with

Covid ~ Covid-19 ~ Schools ~ Second wave ~ September ~ Thousands

Petition Action

Delay the reopening of schools to September

Petition Details

Not open the schools until September so the risk of coronavirus infection is minimal

Additional Information

Because gatherings of thousands of people around the country could cause a second wave of coronavirus.

If you want to sign this petition (as opposed to merely discuss it), you need to do that on the government's e-Petitions website.

Sign this petition
at petition.parliament.uk

Government Response

The Government responded to this petition on Tuesday 30th June 2020

We want all children and young people to return to school as soon as possible. Schools began to welcome back more pupils from 1 June.

The Government has no plans to delay the wider opening of schools. We want to get all children and young people back into education as soon as the scientific advice allows because it is the best place for them to learn, and because we know how important it is for their mental wellbeing to have social interactions with their peers, carers and teachers. Our ambition is for all children and young people to return to school from September.

From the 1 June we have been able to take the first, cautious, steps towards that. As the Prime Minister confirmed on 28 May, the government’s five tests are being met and we have begun to ease the lockdown restrictions across England.

Informed by all the evidence, including the latest scientific and medical advice, this means that nurseries and other early years providers, including childminders, are now able to welcome back children of all ages. Primary schools are able to welcome back pupils in Reception, year 1 and year 6, in smaller class sizes.

From 15 June, secondary schools and FE colleges have started to provide face-to-face support for pupils in years 10 and 12 and 16-19 students in the first year of a two-year study programme, who are due to take key exams next year.

A decision to welcome back these key year groups has not been taken lightly and has been based on the best and latest scientific advice. In doing so we recognise that it is vital that we continue to control the numbers attending schools and colleges to reduce the risk of increasing transmission, and that schools can put measures in place to further reduce the risks and create an inherently safer environment.

The Department for Education has published detailed guidance for schools and other education settings on how to open to more pupils. This includes planning guides for early years providers and for primary schools, and further guidance for secondary schools and further education colleges.

Crucially, we have provided guidance on the protective measures that schools, nurseries and colleges should implement to reduce the risks of transmission. This includes restricting class sizes, limiting contact and mixing between groups, and encouraging regular hand washing and frequent cleaning. This advice was developed in close consultation with Public Health England.

The safety of children, young people and staff remains our top priority. All staff and children, including the under 5s, have access to testing if they develop symptoms of coronavirus. This will enable the right response where a case is confirmed, including using a ‘test and trace’ approach to rapidly identify people most at risk of having been exposed to the virus.

Department for Education

This is a revised response. The Petitions Committee requested a response which more directly addressed the request of the petition. You can find the original response towards the bottom of the petition page (https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/318206)

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