UNISON calls for nurseries to close during lockdown

The UNISON union has said that pre-schools, including nurseries, must be closed except to educate the children of key workers and those who are vulnerable.

The union is urging the government to reconsider its decision to keep early-years establishments open​, despite concerns over a new coronavirus strain. The union also says that early-years staff should also be made a priority for vaccination and mass testing, with employees not expected to go into work until these safety measures are put in place.

Jon Richards, UNISON head of education, said: “Keeping nurseries and other pre-schools open puts staff and communities at risk. Social distancing is impossible with young children and the government has yet to publish the scientific evidence to justify ​nurseries being treated differently to schools.

“​The decision seems ​to have been taken with little regard to the health and safety of ​employees. Ministers must treat ​nurseries the same as schools, as in the first lockdown. Staff must be ​a priority​ for vaccinations and mass testing.”