THE Secretary of State for Education has said that in relation to returning children to schools he will “follow the science”.

We can only hope that the scientific advice he is getting is a great deal better than that given in relation to care homes up until mid-March.

Ten weeks into the global pandemic the scientific advice was that “it remains very unlikely that people receiving care in a care home will become infected”.

As someone who spent 16 years working in care and as a care workers’ union representative I was left dumbfounded by this advice.

Residents of care homes are invariably already frail and vulnerable. They live in close contact with each other. In normal times their homes are very susceptible to epidemics.

The people caring for them are often working in more than one setting, travelling on public transport and, as we now know, are, in many cases, woefully short of the requisite personal protection equipment.

We can only hope that, God forbid, the tests for reopening schools are much more vigorous than the example set by the failure to protect our elderly people whose families entrusted their care to others.

We entrust the care of our children to our teaching workforce for up to and beyond 12 critical years of their lives. Why on earth would we stop listening to them now?

Dave Anderson, chair, Marras – Friends of Durham Miners’ Gala, Middleton in Teesdale.