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by Gemma Fraser
11 December 2020
EIS warns that schools cannot remain open ‘at all costs’

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EIS warns that schools cannot remain open ‘at all costs’

Scotland’s largest teaching union has written to the First Minister to highlight concerns over school buildings remaining open even in areas with high levels of COVID-19.

The letter sent to Nicola Sturgeon coincides with the EIS’ new social campaign, #NotAtAllCosts, which aims to bring teachers’ concerns into the public eye.

Teachers across Scotland are being asked to support the campaign by sharing their own experiences of working in schools during the pandemic, using the hashtag, and the EIS has produced briefing papers highlighting the concerns expressed by teachers in relation to COVID.

In the letter to the First Minister, EIS general secretary Larry Flanagan said: “You will be aware EIS members have been clear in supporting the priority of keeping schools open, despite their very real concerns about safety, but not at all costs, First Minister.

“As you will read, teachers are working in crowded classrooms where social distancing is not possible, often with inadequate cleaning supplies and protections.

“Schools are not COVID-free environments – look at the evidence – and current mitigations are not keeping staff or pupils safe enough. Mounting workload and the stress of working under such conditions is having a significant impact on the mental health and resilience of our education workforce.”

Earlier in the week, the EIS wrote to all education directors across Scotland, as well as Education Secretary John Swinney, asking for an urgent rethink on the decision not to move to remote learning around the Christmas holiday period.

Flanagan added: “I would ask that you read the comments from the classroom, and that moving forward your government does more to acknowledge and address the real fear and anxieties which exist in schools than has been the case to date, especially when we have areas operating at level four.”


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