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Air filters and masks welcome but nowhere near enough

Responding to the education secretary’s announcement today (Sunday) introducing further Covid safety measures for schools and colleges in England, UNISON assistant general secretary Jon Richards said:

“An increase in the use of face coverings and better ventilation are welcome but should have been in place before Christmas to have slowed the infection in schools.

“Providing 7,000 filters is a helpful step. But with over 20,000 schools – many with dozens of classrooms – this will barely scratch the surface.

“These new measures also don’t address the need for extra funding to meet additional costs to schools and colleges, such as paying for agency cover when staff are sick or isolating.

“Nor do they tackle the additional workload for those who’re able to work, or ensure staff working for private contractors are given full sick pay when they need to isolate.

“Unions have been calling for these changes for months. But just like last year, changes announced at the last minute leave little time to prepare for the new term.”

Notes to editors:
-UNISON is the UK’s largest union with more than 1.3 million members providing public services in education, local government, the NHS, police service and energy. They are employed in the public, voluntary and private sectors.

Media contacts:
Anthony Barnes M: 07834 864794 E: a.barnes@unison.co.uk

Jan 3, 2022