A TEACHING union says re-opening schools next week would be dangerous and create a “hotbed of infection” leading to a second spike in coronavirus cases.

County leaders of the National Education Union (NEU) said opening schools to more than just the children of keyworkers and vulnerable pupils on June 1 would not be safe, and more kids should only return to school when the virus risk was much lower.

Some of the county’s primary schools will be re-opening to the youngest pupils in Reception and Year 1 as well as children in Year 6 from Monday (June 1) as part of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s plan to start easing coronavirus lockdown measures.

Schools were closed to students except for the children of keyworkers and vulnerable pupils on March 20.

Stephen Baker, joint secretary of the state education branch of Worcestershire NEU, said more children going to school from next week would create a “hotbed of infection” and cause a second spike in Covid-19 cases, and the proposed test and trace system was not fit for purpose.

“The government had significant teething trouble with the launch in April of its original testing regime, only meeting its deadline of 100,000 tests on the deadline day itself and not for some time after,” he said.

“We are told there will be a test and trace system ready by June 1 but the track record of the government on getting things ready leads us to doubt its effectiveness. Nor do we think the plans in Worcestershire for testing and tracing are fit for purpose.

“They will not immediately test the contacts of someone who tests positive for coronavirus in a school; they will only trace and test contacts when there is a second case. That could be 14 days later. How many more people will have been infected in a school environment by that time? What are the plans for self-isolation when that first person tests positive? We do not know.

“Re-opening more widely on June 1 risks creating a hotbed for infection in our schools and a second spike.”