THE body representing trade unions in the Bradford district has called for the city’s schools to resist Government advice to begin reopening as of June 1.

Bradford Trades Union Council has warned that schools and nurseries in the district would not be in a position to meet basic health and safety requirements, and that the lives of teaching staff, students, and the wider community would be put at risk.

As it stands, England is the only part of the UK asking schools to begin phased reopenings from the start of next month, with devolved Governments elsewhere refusing to commit to reopening.

The call by Bradford’s union bosses came after it was revealed that Yorkshire and the North East has the highest Covid-19 infection rate in the UK.

The statistics led Bradford's Director of Public Health, Sarah Muckle, to call on Bradford residents to “stay at home” as much as possible, pointing out that some people may interpret the gradual relaxing of lockdown measures to mean that lives have gone back to normal.

President of Bradford Trades Union Council Paul Meszaros said: “Having spoken to several concerned teachers in Bradford, there is no doubt in my mind that the city simply cannot reopen schools as the Government is suggesting.

“Aside from the glaring safety risks being posed to teachers and pupils by allowing schools to reopen while the infection rate is still alarmingly high, the logistics for operating a vast and varied estate of schools with new social distancing measures in place will make it impossible.

“As a parent of young children myself, nobody wants proper education to resume for our city’s young people as much as I do – but this can not, and must not be at the expense of saving lives. People must not confuse the provision of a proper education with a de-facto childcare service in an unsafe environment.

“I’d just like to take the opportunity to pay tribute to the district’s brilliant teachers, assistants, support staff and all those who work so hard for our children. While they continue to put themselves at risk by going into work everyday to teach the kids of key workers, they now have to deal with the added stress of an incoherent and ill-considered Government plan, along with bizarre attacks by a rabid right-wing press. They deserve better, and they have our full support.”