"Simple steps needed to protect our teachers"
Plaid Cymru Shadow Minister for Education, Siân Gwenllian MS, has called for a clear coronavirus testing regime to be in place for school staff who plan to return to a school setting.
This would be in addition to the antibody testing that Welsh Government has already promised.
An antibody test will show if a person has had coronavirus in the past, but not if a person is currently infectious.
Ms Gwenllian said “we should be using all the tools in our toolkit to ensure the safety of our nation’s educators.”
On the 29th of June schools in Wales will re-open their doors to all pupils.
Welsh Government Education Minister Kirsty Williams promised teachers that they would “be a priority group” in the new antibody testing, however no dates have yet been given.
Ms Gwenllian said she was keen that teachers benefit from all available testing, and that this happens before teachers return to a school setting.
Plaid Cymru Shadow Minister for Education Siân Gwenllian MS said:
“Teachers and teaching assistants are rightly concerned about the return to schools. With so little known about the way the virus spreads, particularly amongst children, this is understandably causing extra stress at an already unsettling time.
“I’m calling on Welsh Government to ensure that teachers have an antibody test and that there is a clear testing regime in place before they return to school. If a teacher has a negative antibody test, they may still have the live virus and yet be asymptomatic. They would return to the school environment, at the risk of those around them.
“If we provide both tests to teachers, it will give them more confidence that a return to a school setting can be safe. We still have so much to learn about this disease, and at this stage we should look to provide as much comfort to our children’s educators as possible.
“At such an unsettling time, I also am calling on Welsh Government to keep their promise that any teachers uncomfortable with a return to a school setting on 29 June will not have disciplinary action brought against them. I would also like to see more mental health resources available for teachers who are struggling with the thought of going back to school.
“We should be using all the tools in our toolkit to ensure the safety of our nation’s educators.”