'Not enough information' to decide on re-opening Doncaster schools on June 1, Mayor says

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Doncaster’s mayor ‘does not have enough information to decide to re-open Doncaster’s schools’ and is asking the public what they want.

Mayor Ros Jones today wrote to the Prime Minister asking for further clarity on the science and data behind the planned reopening of schools.

She fears she does not have sufficient data and evidence for Doncaster to recommend to schools, parents and unions if schools and nurseries should re-open on June 1 and outlines this in her letter.She said the council had been working collaboratively with schools for months, and set out ‘recovery principles’ they are using.

They are:

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Hall Cross School, one of Doncaster's biggest schools. (Picture: Liz Robinson D2967LR)Hall Cross School, one of Doncaster's biggest schools. (Picture: Liz Robinson D2967LR)
Hall Cross School, one of Doncaster's biggest schools. (Picture: Liz Robinson D2967LR) | JPIMedia Resell

>The safety of staff, children and families is paramount.

>Schools and settings need sufficient time and resources to prepare to reopen and operate safely.

>Reopening of schools and settings will be a gradual process in full consultation with all stakeholders.

>Every school faces a unique set of challenges and this will be taken into consideration when planning to reopen.

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>The emotional health and wellbeing of staff and children must be the focus once schools reopen.

The letter also points out the information needed to help inform her recommendation which is either partially available or unavailable.

That includes:

>The total number of COVID-19 PCR antigen tests carried out on Doncaster residents

>The number of positive COVID-19 PCR antigen tests on Doncaster residents by age and postcode

>The results of the care home testing programme

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>NHS 111 usage by age and postcode for Doncaster residents

She said: “If I am to recommend to schools in our borough that they reopen on June 1, then we need to have a strong evidential base for doing so. It is of course a matter for schools if they wish to reopen as this is an autonomous decision for them but I want them to have the most relevant data to be able to make that decision.

“Coupled with that, I want to hear what parents and carers think so have published a survey to ask for their views as I appreciate they may be concerned, confused and unsettled by the national conversation. This feedback will help inform my recommendation.”

The survey is available until midnight.