Steve Brine spoke in the House of Commons today, calling on the Prime Minister to ensure that schools return fully once the vaccination programme has covered those most vulnerable to the virus.
The Winchester and Chandler’s Ford MP has been among MPs leading calls on the Government to get children back to school, after receiving significant representation from concerned parents.
Steve spoke in a statement where the Prime Minister confirmed that schools would not be able to return before the February half-term. He did however say that this would be reviewed on the 22nd of February, meaning that a return could begin from the 8th March, with schools receiving 2 weeks’ notice in order to prepare.
In response to this announcement Steve said in the Chamber; “Many parents would have faced home schooling last year with a sense of necessary resignation, my sense is that now many are desperately worried about their children, so it’s just fantastic news that the Prime Minister said today that, as vaccines rollout and the most vulnerable are protected, that will move in lockstep and get the country back to school.”
Steve did however question the new date asking the Prime Minister; “Whether the 8th March date has to wait for all schools, even primary, given we all agree, and he has said at the dispatch box, that schools are safe?”
The Prime Minister replied saying: “The key thing that we need to establish, which won’t be until the middle of February, is that we have real material evidence that vaccines are working in driving down mortality rates in those crucial groups.
“So if you were to give schools decent notice to come back, you’re driven more towards the 8th March with that logic.”
On the issue of vaccinations for teachers and schools staff, Steve says; "While I appreciate it’s not an easy argument to make, vaccinating teachers should be considered once, and only once, we have vaccinated the top four groups and said as much in the House several weeks ago. To be clear none of this is because I think teachers are at more risk than (eg; supermarket checkout staff) - they are NOT - but either it's the national priority or it's not.
"I and my colleagues will not let up on this but please do consider joining the Us for Them campaign (link below) and share this content with your own networks as much as possible because we need public opinion to support what those of us in Parliament are trying to do."
More information ...