CLYDEBANK teachers are warning the planned return to classrooms in August could “endanger” everyone in schools.

The local branch of the EIS union said the “constant changes” by the Scottish Government had “little regard” for the work put in by teachers to meet the original blended learning plans.

Just as West Dunbartonshire Council wrote to parents about the mix of classroom and home learning, the government instead said all pupils would be able to return to class full time next month if the pandemic threat continued to lessen.

Council officials said they will continue working with staff and the government and health experts to safely resume teaching.

Mick Dolan and Jim Halfpenny, joint secretaries of West Dunbartonshire EIS, told the Post the changes of Scottish Government policy have “created chaos”.

They said: “Their constant changes have had little regard for the work put in by teachers and management in preparation for blended learning and two metre social distancing in schools.

“The weeks of planning, drawing up route maps for pupils, risk assessments produced by teams of professionals, furniture moved and stored to create space, timetabling the the education of thousands of pupils, all to be told with three working days notice that it’s all change.

“Confusion has given way to anger. If we are in a better place by August, it will take time to prepare schools, to draw up specific risk assessments and to undo the physical changes to classrooms carried out in preparation for social distancing and blended learning.

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“With no firm guidelines on personal risk assessments and continued shielding for teachers in high-risk groups, many schools are likely to experience substantial shortages of teachers.”

They added: “Clearly working a full day in an enclosed space with numerous children creates a risk which worries many teachers. The rate of infection in a local area must be a crucial factor in plans for a phased end to lockdown.”

The Scottish Government said the safety of pupils and staff was “paramount”.

A spokesman said: “The plan for a full-time return to schools is conditional on infection rates being sufficiently low to continue to suppress the virus, public health and testing systems being in place, risk assessments being carried out in schools and protective measures, including the use of PPE where appropriate, being in place.

“Getting back to school will require a huge joint effort.”

A spokeswoman for West Dunbartonshire Council said they appreciated the challenges faced by teachers and called them a “credit to their profession” for supporting 14,000 young people during the pandemic.

She said: “The model developed was the only feasible way to return pupils to our schools under the physical distancing restrictions at that time and was created with teachers, our trade union partners and discussed with parent councils.

“Our staff and educational services team have worked tirelessly over the last four months to ensure any return to educational establishments is safe for both our children and employees.

“We will continue to follow and be guided by the Scottish Government and Public Health guidance on our plans to safely open our establishments full time in August in line with the current advice.”