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Posted on 18 May 2020 at 10:55 GMT

Coronavirus

A Socialist Party leaflet for parents: Organise against an unsafe return to school

Click here for the leaflet - or see the text of it below

First page of Socialist Party leaflet for parents, May 2020

First page of Socialist Party leaflet for parents, May 2020   (Click to enlarge)

Johnson's reckless 'back to school' plans threaten everyone's safety

1. Who does the government want back in school on 1 June?

Most schools have stayed open to safely care for small numbers of children. But now the government want primary schools to open on June 1st for all nursery, reception, Year 1 and Year 6 children, as well as all existing priority children. That's over half the school back together.

2. But won't schools make sure they teach my child safely?

Schools simply can't open safely yet to more children. Young children sneeze and cough, they want to run and play together.

It will be impossible to keep them safely apart. Shared surfaces and equipment will be infected. The virus will inevitably spread between children and staff.

3. Why are the government's plans so dangerous for all of us?

Infection levels in our communities are still too high. There is still no proper testing and tracing system in place.

Nobody will know who is carrying the virus into school, especially as most children don't show symptoms.

Nobody will know which children and adults are then taking the virus back to their families and their vulnerable relatives. A 'second wave' of the virus will spread - that means more danger and more deaths.

4. Will this make my child unwell?

The Government is trying to trick parents into thinking this can all be done safely. It can't. They say most children can't get seriously unwell with Covid-19.

That's true - but some can. For example, while rare, there's a growing concern about an inflammatory syndrome in children linked to the virus.

But children also won't be happy. They will be told to keep apart from friends and teachers. Schools will be strange and confusing places.

Emotional and wellbeing support also needs to be securely in place before schools open safely.

5. Why does the government want schools to open when it's not safe?

Their plans are not based on safety. If they were, you wouldn't start with the youngest kids who will find it hardest to keep apart.

For them, it's all about childminding - so employers can tell us we should all be back in our workplaces, whether we think it's safe or not.

Of course, parents need pay and help with childcare. But safety comes first, not employers' profit margins.

6. When will it be safe for schools to open?

We can't trust Ministers to know what's safe for our children. It's their failure to get infection rates down, and to make sure testing and tracing systems are in place, that are to blame for schools not yet being safe to open further.

Doctors understand health, not politicians. Their professional association, the BMA, say "until we have got case numbers much lower, we should not consider reopening schools" and that Government plans are "too fast, too confusing and too risky".

They agree with staff trade unions that schools must have testing and isolation protocols securely in place first so that any outbreak can be controlled.

Parents and unions should make the decision together about what's safe for children and staff, not the politicians who have failed us.

7. It's hard for me to look after my child at home. What can I do?

It's been hard to have children off school for this long. But schools are doing what they can to support families with online learning and teaching small numbers of children in school itself.

Contact your school if you need more help or if your child is struggling with work they have set. But, again, it's the Government that needs to act.

They haven't delivered on their promise to provide laptops and broadband to families who can't afford them.

They should be making sure every parent who has to look after children is fully supported financially and telling employers that they can't force parents back to work before schools can reopen safely.

8. I agree it's unsafe. What do I do now to make sure we all refuse?

Tell everyone you know - our children must not go back until schools are safe

Let's all refuse to send our children back until we agree it's safe

Get organised with other parents - and with staff trade unions too

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Coronavirus crisis - Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • Our 'fighting coronavirus workers' charter', outlines a programme to combat the virus and protect workers' living conditions.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our special coronavirus appeal.

Please donate here.

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