Angela has written to parents and teachers who have expressed concerns over schools re-opening next week.
The Government announced that schools – which have only been open to the children of key workers and vulnerable children during lockdown – could start to welcome more pupils back to the classroom from 1st June.
Angela, former Shadow Education Secretary and now Labour’s Deputy Leader and Party Chair, has received emails and letters from people across Ashton, Droylsden and Failsworth who are worried about the risks of contracting coronavirus when there are more children and staff present in schools.
She said: “Teachers do a fantastic job in educating our children and young people and have been working throughout this pandemic to support the families they work with.
“I wrote to all the schools in my constituency last month to let the staff know how proud I am of their incredible efforts to make a very strange situation less scary for the children in their care and for giving those children learning from home a sense of normality and continuity with the work they are setting for them to do.
“We all desperately want schools to reopen for the sake of children’s education and wellbeing. I am however concerned that there are serious problems with the proposed plan for pupils to return to schools in England from Monday.
“It is important to get children back in the classroom, but just as important is ensuring the safety of staff, pupils and their families.
“I am aware the National Education Union has provided five sensible tests to enable pupils to return to school in greater numbers and in the safest way possible. These involve lowering infection rates, a realistic plan for social distancing, comprehensive access to testing, a plan for when cases occur, and protection for vulnerable staff.
“On 22nd May, the Independent Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies stated that it believes that ‘decisions on school opening should be guided by evidence of low levels of COVID-19 infections in the community and the ability to rapidly respond to new infections through a local test, track and isolate strategy.’ It argued, ‘There is no clear evidence that these conditions are met. Until they are it is not safe to open schools on June 1.’
“It is in the interests of all those who will be affected by the wider opening of schools for the Government to be transparent about the advice on which it is acting and to act upon the concerns raised by parents, school staff and teaching unions.
“I believe the Government must urgently convene a taskforce of education unions, parents organisations and health experts to agree upon a series of practical safety conditions that must be met within schools before the Government confirms a date for wider reopening and to confirm that test, track and trace will be fully operational.
“I will continue to push the Government to reopen schools – but only when it is safe to do so.”

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