Socialist Students statement
Socialist Students stands in solidarity with school staff unions, workers, parents and pupils who are fighting to halt the government’s reckless drive towards the reopening of schools in England before it is safe to do so. The premature further opening of schools in the absence of wide scale national testing, tracing and isolation systems endangers the health and safety of pupils and staff, as well as their families.
The government announcement about the further opening of the schools came at the same time that Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that workers, particularly in manufacturing and construction, should return to work. The Tory strategy to deal with covid so far – including the lateness of the initial lockdown – has always been based on what is most profitable for their big business bankrollers, not what is best for ordinary people.
The Tory drive to further open the schools then has nothing to do with helping children or parents – its about providing childcare so the bosses have an easier time of telling working class people to get back to work to restart the bosses’ profits.
One of the school worker unions, the National Education Union (NEU) has produced ‘five tests’ for the safe further opening of schools, including a much lower count of new covid cases and comprehensive access to testing for staff and students.
Socialist Students demands that these five tests are met before the discussion of a timetable to return students and staff to schools is begun. Wherever school staff or students are being forced to attend school in unsafe conditions, Socialist Students calls for the building of campaign groups to draw together school workers, parents and pupils alongside the school unions to take collective action to refuse to send pupils and workers back to schools in unsafe conditions.