Safety concerns from teachers about Scottish schools returning next week

A survey being conducted by teaching union, the Educational Institute of Scotland, has highlighted serious concerns among teachers regarding the reopening of schools next week.

Friday, 7th August 2020, 2:40 pm
The interim results show that although 64 per cent of teachers support reopening schools, only 18 per cent feel schools are currently safe. Photo: SWNS

The survey opened on Tuesday afternoon and by Thursday had attracted more than 24,000 responses from teachers. Although most responses supported reopening schools, they also said they were not convinced enough safety measures were in place.

Key data collected so far shows that although 64 per cent of teachers support reopening schools, only 18 per cent feel schools are currently safe. Only three per cent of teachers said they were “very confident” coronavirus was sufficiently under control to allow for safe return to school. More than half of teachers expressed a lack of confidence in the capacity to test, trace and isolate.

A quarter of teachers said they were confident sufficient operational changes such as social distancing and enhance hygiene were in place while 60 per cent lacked confidence.

More than 70 per cent of teachers support testing for asymptomatic staff members to help suppress virus spread and 62 per cent said they felt “somewhat unsafe” or “very unsafe” about returning to school.

EIS general secretary Larry Flanagan said: “The interim results of this survey highlight that Scotland’s teachers continue to have serious questions over the re-opening of schools next week.

“The fact that more than 24,000 teachers completed the survey in a little over a day illustrates the high degree of concern that remains over Covid-19 and schools. Teachers want to see schools re-opening, so that they can get back to working with pupils in the classroom environment – but they are very clear that this has to be done safely.”

“The initial indications from this major survey confirm that teachers believe that much more still needs to be done to ensure their safety, and the safety of pupils and others within the school, can be properly protected as schools re-open.

“The EIS will be sharing both the initial and final results of this survey with the Scottish Government and local authorities, and will be seeking urgent discussions on the mitigations that teachers still want to see – such as sufficient social distancing, testing for asymptomatic staff, and the use of face coverings where required to ensure safety.”

The survey will be open until Monday with full results to be published soon afterwards.