School teachers and support staff should be given Covid-19 vaccines early to enable a safer return to schools when lockdown is lifted the Mayor of Tower Hamlets has said. Writing in a letter to the Prime Minister, Mayor John Biggs argued for early vaccines for staff and urged the Government to undertake urgent scientific analysis to better understand the impact of Covid-19 outbreaks in schools.

While Mayor Biggs welcomed the Government’s decision to close schools he called on the Prime Minister to provide a plan to get children back to school as soon as it was safe to do. Describing the closures as a last resort which was “sadly necessary” given the steep rise in covid-19 cases, the Mayor said that any strategy for getting young people back to school “must include prioritising teachers and school support staff for vaccination” and pressed government for urgent analysis to “understand the true risks flowing from Covid-19 outbreaks in school children, particularly the extent to which primary and secondary students can transmit the virus to more vulnerable groups, including teachers, despite being likely to be asymptomatic themselves.”

Schools in Tower Hamlets were told on the 31st December that they would not fully reopen in London on 4th January as planned. Instead schools will only be open for children of key workers with other students learning through online classes.

Mayor of Tower Hamlets, John Biggs, said:

“Families are facing incredibly difficult situations as young people are once again told to home school. For parents who don’t work at home or those who live in overcrowded homes the challenge is particularly acute. The Government says its priority is reopening schools but we’ve no idea how they plan to achieve that.

“Giving school staff early vaccinations would make a big difference. Alongside frequent testing of pupils and better scientific evidence on how the virus spreads in schools, it could help us limit how long schools need to stay closed.

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