As part of the next stage of the National Education Union’s campaign to keep schools and communities safe they are launching a new website
The website presents accurate, accessible and up-to-date information about the COVID-19 rate in the locality of every school in England. Updated weekly, the data will show the number of COVID-19 cases in a school’s surrounding area, the trend since last week (an increase or decrease in case numbers), whether or not the school is on a watchlist, and links to any local restrictions in place.
In much of the country the map will offer reassurance that case numbers are quite low. In others, it will reinforce public health messaging from local authorities and government that cases are higher. In all situations it will encourage members of the public to follow all public health guidance. Where cases are higher, it will support head teachers in encouraging parents and other visitors to school sites to maintain social distancing and hygiene.
In recent weeks, the government has increased the amount of data available about local COVID-19 cases. This is welcome and useful to all public health efforts. The NEU website will make the data easily available to parents and school staff.
Commenting on the launch, Kevin Courtney, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, said: “Everyone in the education sector has worked hard to make full opening of schools, colleges and universities as successful as possible this autumn, but they have been let down by the government which hasn’t even ensured that COVID testing has kept pace with need.
“The NEU school COVID map presents up to date information on the COVID rate in every part of England. This website will support public health messaging everywhere. We believe it has the clearest information. We hope that it will encourage ongoing conversations about school safety, and how everyone can play their part.
“But this website will also encourage parents to support our asks of the Government that they help to support safety in our schools and colleges.
“We have written to the Prime Minister calling for much quicker testing for staff and students, Nightingale sites for smaller classes, guaranteed home working for vulnerable staff, and more funding for already strained schools and colleges to maintain COVID-security.
“Parents, students and staff also need urgent answers on next year’s exams, and how fit for purpose they will be. This is in light of not only the past summer’s fiasco, but also the disruption of local lockdowns in the months ahead.”