TEACHERS and staff are said to be “scared and anxious” at the prospect of schools of opening “so quickly” to more children in the current coronavirus pandemic.

Bolton Council, unlike other local authorities in Greater Manchester, has taken the decision to start opening schools to more children from June 1.

Documents seen by The Bolton News detail a long list of tasks schools will be required to perform to reduce the risk of Covid-19 infection.

These include frequent cleaning of “touched surfaces” such as toys, books, desks, chairs, doors, sinks, toilets, light switches and banisters. But schools will have to source the extra products needed and pay for additional cleaning to meet the guidelines.

Julia Simpkins, of the Bolton branch of the National Education Union (NEU), said: “Teachers want to go back into their schools and teach pupils, but they are scared about their safety and more importantly that of their children.

“We want to see the science behind why it is safe to reopen schools," she added.

“There are a number of councils which have already said they will not be opening schools. I don’t know what is going on in Bolton Council.

"The NEU and the NASWUT both asked for meetings and updates when the council ‘lockdown’ happened and we are now having a meeting, after the decision has been made ­- there has been no consultation.

“It should not be a case of opening schools and seeing how it goes, children and teachers are not guinea pigs.”

She added: “How do you get youngsters to socially distance?

"Teachers will be spending their time telling children to stay away from their friends ­- we will be having to wash their hands regularly.”

Bolton Trades Union Council is hoping to organise a meeting via social media for parents and school staff to discuss their concerns over Bolton Council’s June 1 opening.

Andrea Egan, Bolton Unison Branch Secretary said:“Everyone knows how important education is for our children.

"We all want to see children being able to get back into a school environment with all the learning and social benefits that brings.

"For us the big issue is to bring children back into school in a planned and safe way that is right for the children, right for the staff and ultimately right for families and communities.

"To do that properly, lot of work has to be done on the ground. Together we need to assess all the risks and ensure that we have the right measures in place to address those risks.

"There’s lots of anxiety about schools reopening and understandably so.

"A lot of our members are questioning the idea of starting to open so quickly”

She added: “I would have preferred to see other gradual changes being made such as an extension to the key worker system as this has worked really well in schools over the past few weeks.

"We will see what the Council and schools have to say but we will be seeking assurances about what is planned.

"We must ensure that schools have been deep cleaned and that school cleaners and other staff have the right training, the materials, equipment and support to then maintain high standards of cleanliness in the schools as we go forward.

"For us the main priority is that we get things right, at the moment I cannot see schools being ready on the 1st of June”