PRIMARY teachers from Dursley and Cam have expressed concerns about returning to the classroom when lessons resume – but their MP says re-opening schools is the right move.

The government plans a phased reopening of primary schools June 1 at the earliest.

The first children to return will be those in Reception, Year 1 and Year 6.

All primary aged children will return before the summer holidays for one month if feasible.

One primary school teacher who works in the Dursley area but asked not to be named said: “It’s a horrible situation. They’ve told me to stay at home for seven weeks now and not to even go out the the shops, and now they’re saying I can go into school and work with children who can’t socially distance.”

Another primary school teacher who lives in Dursley said: “Teachers just want to get back when it is safe. I think it’s a basic human right to be safe in your workplace.”

Stroud district MP Siobhan Baillie said schools reopening was a positive move and expressed concerns about online lessons. She said: “Some families only have one laptop between them – that is often needed for a parent’s job – and many children are trying to do homework on their smartphones. Children at risk of harm or neglect have also lost the daily protection of school. Parents also desperately need schools to be open so they can earn a living. The Department for Education is clear the National Education Union’s five tests about Covid-19 have been met and the WHO’s chief scientist backs the Government about school safety.”

Ms Baillie said she understands teachers’ concerns but is confident social distancing can be implemented effectively.

Sarah Murphy, representative for the National Education Union’s Gloucestershire District, said: “The view of the NEU is that students and staff should be returning to school as soon as it is safe to do so. We recognise the importance of students being taught face to face’ and that there is an economic impact of parents looking after their children at home rather than being at work. We are concerned, however, that the Government is advising that half the students in a primary school, reception, 1 and 6 should all be returning together on the first of June.

“The BMA – the UK’s largest doctors’ union – said in a letter to the NEU on Friday that the number of coronavirus infections remained too high to allow schools to run safely.”

Gloucestershire County Councillor Brian Tipper (Cam Valley, Conservative) said: “The county council has been helping headteachers, offering help and advice to safely and slowly increase the numbers of children returning.”

And GCC councillor Loraine Patrick (Dursley, Conservative) said: “The scientific advice is that it could be safe for more children to return from next month – and the county council is working to support schools to allow that to happen.”

She added: "I’m incredibly proud of the way our people have come together to help each other, many of them going about it quietly and unnoticed, so I’d like to thank them all for every little bit they do."