Parents applaud Sheffield City Council's decision to not encourage schools to reopen next week

It comes after Public Health Director Greg Fell revealed today that he recommends schools to stay closed from the start of June.

By Lizzie Day
Friday, 29th May 2020, 4:36 pm
Updated Friday, 29th May 2020, 4:36 pm

A group of Sheffield parents who planned to boycott the government’s phased reopening of schools from next week have applauded the council after they declared schools should stay closed.

The city’s director of Public Health encouraged Sheffield City Council to delay the wider reopening of schools until 15 June after “carefully reviewing” the local position on the Government’s five tests which Downing Street said must be met before lockdown restrictions can be eased further.

While Boris Johnson said the tests have been met yesterday and it was safe to allow reception, Year 1 and 6 students to return from Monday – Mr Fell said he could not be “confident” that the city passed all five measures.

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Parent and campaigner Jennifer Jones has welcomed Sheffield City Council's decision to not reopen schools in the city from Monday.

Parent protest group ‘Sheffield Boycott Schools Re-opening in June 2020’ welcomed the recommendation after they claimed it would not be safe for all students to return to school due to social distancing.

Group founder, Jennifer Jones from Arbourthorne, plans to not let her eight-year-old son go back to school on Monday with concerns his special educational needs cannot be met in the current climate.

The 40-year-old’s fears her son who has autism, asperger syndrome, sensory processing disorder and a sleep disorder, will not be able to receive the appropriate support his Educational Health Care Plan dictates.

Jennifer explained: “He really enjoys the sensation of rocking if he's feeling distressed, a good way to defuse him is to sit near him and put an arm around him.

"It can even be just a simple hug but none of these things can be delivered in school right now and none of these things the school have a legal responsibility to deliver at the moment because of the government’s decision.”

The Sheffield Boycott Schools Reopening founder shared how the equipment her child usually uses to regulate his proprioception needs are also unavailable, as while they can be wiped down, a teacher would have to be within a two metre distance to administer the treatment.

"Children like my son don't only thrive on routine, they need it and anxiety of any kind is where I might be anxious about a situation for my son you could times it by one thousand”, Jennifer added.

"That anxiety can build like a bottle of fizzy pop being shook and shook and shook.

"You can only shake it so many times before the bottle top flies off and it sprays everywhere, this is what we see in our children when they can't cope with a situation which has been forced upon them.”

Over 170 people have liked the Sheffield Boycott Schools Reopening in June 2020 Facebook page which features a video of parents and grandparents in the city voicing their worries about schools reopening their doors.

In partnership with Sheffield National Education Union, the group are hosting a zoom meeting at 8pm this evening specificially for care givers to share their thoughts about when children should return back to class.