MICHAEL GOVE squirmed as BBC host Andrew Marr questioned whether teachers and pupils can be kept safe when schools are reopened.
Michael Gove insisted teachers will be safe as restrictions will be put in place to mitigate the risk of catching coronavirus in schools including class sizes of up to 15 pupils. But the Cabinet minister stumbled when he couldn’t safe the key workers definitely wouldn’t catch COVID-19. Andrew Marr asked: “You can sit here and guarantee that no teacher is going to catch coronavirus as a result of going back to school?”
Mr Gove told the BBC show: “The only way to ever ensure that you never catch coronavirus is to stay at home.
“There is always in any loosening of these restrictions a risk of people catching the coronavirus.”
The host interjected: “It sounds like from what you’re saying you can’t really guarantee their safety.”
Mr Gove continued: “The personal risk is that we can make these workplaces safe.
“You can never eliminate risk but as we know, it is the case that it is extremely unlikely that any school is likely to be a source of a COVID outbreak and if for any reason there are risks, we can take steps to mitigate them.”
In the show, Mr Gove said there are “big lessons” to be learned from the treatment of care homes during the coronavirus outbreak.
Mr Gove said the Government had taken “significant steps” to improve the situation of those in care homes.
However, amid growing criticism that they had failed to provide adequate support to the sector, he acknowledged the situation remained a “challenge”.
He said: “There are big lessons to be learned.
“We are still living through this pandemic and there will be lessons to be learned. We have taken significant steps to improve the care of people in care homes.
“There will be a point in the future when all of us can look back and reflect and make sure we have learned the appropriate lessons.
“At the moment, we are focused on making sure we beat the virus and protect people as effectively as possible.”
Mr Gove also issued a fresh appeal to teaching unions and to councils who have expressed concerns about the Government’s plans to begin reopening schools from next month to think again.
“The clear scientific and clinical advice is that it is safe to have schools reopen accompanied with social distancing,” he said.
“Children only have one chance at education. Over the last decade we have made significant strides in closing the closing the gap between the richest and poorest in our schools. This lockdown has put that at risk.
“If progressive countries like Denmark can be teaching children and have them back in schools, then so should we. The whole point about being a teacher is you love your job. It is a mission, a vocation, to be able to excite young minds.”