This morning Micheal Gove urged teaching unions and doctors to ‘think again’ about opposition to reopening classrooms from 1 June. This comes after both Liverpool and Hartlepool Council refused to open up schools at the beginning of June.
Speaking on BBC1’s Andrew Marr Show, Gove acknowledged that the only way to be absolutely sure of avoiding coronavirus infection was to remain “permanently imprisoned” at home.
But when asked by Marr whether he could guarantee that children and teachers will be safe at school, he replied firmly: “Yes.”
Then he admitted that an element of risk would remain, for teachers and pupils, he said: “The only way ever to ensure that you never catch coronavirus is to stay at home completely. There’s always, always, always in any loosening of these restrictions a risk of people catching the coronavirus.
“The key thing is that we can make these workplaces safe. You can never eliminate risk, but as we know, it is the case that it is extremely unlikely that any school is likely to be the source of a Covid outbreak and if, for any reason, there are risks we can take steps to mitigate them.”
Another council has said its schools will remain shut on June 1 as local coronavirus cases continue to rise.
Last weekend the Prime Minister outlined plans to partially re-open schools for pupils in nursery, reception, and years one and six.
But Hartlepool Council said that will not happen in its borough, stressing it will be using caution.
In a statement, it said: “Given that coronavirus cases locally continue to rise, Hartlepool Borough Council has been working with schools and we have agreed they will not re-open on Monday 1st June.
“Whilst we recognise the importance of schools re-opening, we want to be absolutely clear that we will be taking a measured and cautious approach to this.
“We continue to work with schools to put in place appropriate measures to help keep children and staff safe when a phased re-opening is possible.”
The statement followed confirmation that in Liverpool, schools will only be open to vulnerable pupils and the children of key workers on June 1.