COVID-19: Education personnel, School Students and Parents’ organisations share common demands for a safe return-to-school in a joint Statement

20 May 2020

The COVID 19 outbreak is a public health crisis quite different than anything Europe has faced for many years. As education personnel and their trade unions grapple with the outbreak, we are supporting and informing member organisations in any way we can.

When it comes to the reopening of schools after national lockdown, the whole school community shares common concerns that must be urgently addressed by national authorities, to ensure that coming back to physical classrooms is safe for all. Today, the ETUCE, OBESSU, and EPA, representing education workers, school students, and parents’ associations in Europe, share their common concerns for safe return-to-school policies in a joint Statement.

The global pandemic has caused education systems across Europe to shut down, and rapidly adapt to distance education, in an emergency context. This situation has taken its toll on teaching staff, students, and their parents and families, and all are hoping for a return to normality. However, at a time when many national authorities are envisioning a gradual reopening of schools, ETUCE, OBESSU, and EPA unite today to highlight necessary measures to ensure going back to school is safe for all:

In particular, in their joint address, the ETUCE, OBESSU, and EPA share their demands that:

  • The health, the safety and the well-being of the school community must be at the centre of return-to-school policies;
  • The disruption of COVID-19 on education must be mitigated in light of the specificities of the sector;
  • Equal access to quality education is ensured, during, and long after the COVID-19 pandemic;

Today, at the occasion of the publication of the joint ETUCE, OBESSU, and EPA Statement on the safe reopening of schools, Susan Flocken, European Director, commented: ‘The impact of the COVID-19 crisis on education systems in Europe concerns us all: education personnel, students, and their parents and families. This is why this joint Statement is a crucial document that we wish for European and national authorities to acknowledge, and take into consideration in the elaboration of the gradual reopening of schools policies.”

To read the joint ETUCE, OBESSU, and EPA Joint Statement for a safe return-to-school, please click here.