Strengthen Test & Trace

Covid-19 Test & Trace graphic showing network of peopleGovt must act to strengthen NHS Test and Trace ahead of new school year, else ND kids will be left behind.

Scientists have warned that current Covid-19 contact track and trace is inadequate when schools in the UK reopen next month.

After six months of being cooped up at home, millions of children are looking forward to getting back to school in September, but safety must remain the top priority. The Government needs to be honest about the very real risk that if they do not get the NHS Test and Trace system in order - or in the event that we see a sharp rise in infections - children may have to go back to learning from home.

Alex White meeting families at schoolAlex White, Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for North Devon, said:

“I am very concerned about what a return to home learning would mean for local children and their educational outcomes. We know that in North Devon, our children receive less money per pupil, have poorer broadband connection, and that many live in fuel poverty. One in eight children live in poverty in Devon; this rises to one in every three for parts of Barnstaple. That is not conducive with a good learning. Home learning doesn’t support working parents either.

I’m worried that in an age where schools have become hubs for other services - from breakfast clubs to mental health services and much more besides - these children will miss out on far more than their education.

We know that the life chances of many of our children in North Devon are lower than the National average. I don’t want to see them reduced even further by restricting their access to schools and teachers.”

In the absence of a vaccine, a comprehensive test, trace and isolate system is a way to make people safer as we reopen schools. The Government must do everything in its power to strengthen that system if we are to have any hope of a safe start to the new school year. The Conservative MP must push for this in the interest of her constituents.

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