School reopening plan is 'reckless' says Portsmouth teacher and union leader following PM's address

MORE details are needed about how businesses and schools can open safely, according to a city teacher and business owner.

By Millie Salkeld
Sunday, 10th May 2020, 9:27 pm
Updated Monday, 11th May 2020, 11:44 am
Portsmouth North candidate Amanda Martin for the Labour Party
Portsmouth North candidate Amanda Martin for the Labour Party

In his address last night, Boris Johnson set out a plan to allow businesses to phase reopening, schools to open doors to some pupils from June 1 and for some of the hospitality industry and other public places to reopen from July at the earliest.

For Portsmouth teacher and president of the National Education Union, Amanda Martin, the plan to allow reception, Year 1 and Year 6 students back in June is ‘reckless’.

Ms Martin said: 'We think it is reckless to go back to school if we have not met the five tests.

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Shannon Bull - Owner of The Four-Ale Taproom

‘The biggest concern we have is over safety and social distancing in schools. With little ones, keeping them apart will last minutes and what about the families who have children in other years but their siblings in Year 6 or reception will be coming back into the house.’

The government also has ambitions to get secondary school pupils, with exams next year, to get some time with teachers before the summer holidays.

Ms Martin added: ‘The prime minister said maybe and if and in that if time we need more answers and detail about how people can come back to school safely.’

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Mr Johnson also spoke about reopening ‘some of the hospitality industry’ from July at the earliest.

Although personally she felt reassured by the PM’s address, Shannon Bull, who owns The Four-Ale Taproom in Gosport, says she doesn’t know what it means for her business.

The 22-year-old said: ‘I think it is good that they have a plan and that is reassuring but there wasn’t too much detail around which businesses and which part of the hospitality industry so we need more information there.

‘For me we have been doing alright as we have started doing deliveries and we also got the government grant so that has really helped us but for bigger pubs it has had more of an impact.

‘With social distancing guidelines if you can only have half capacity in pubs then that is half the profit and could be unsustainable.’

Ms Bull added: The most important thing is they give businesses time to find new ways to do things and open safely. For pubs you can’t order at the bar as that would be too close and for my staff they can’t pick up glasses like they usually would, so I think there needs to be guidelines and time to put new strategies in place.’

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