A TOTAL of 250 parents and teachers have joined to sign an open letter calling on Oxfordshire County Council to join other councils in rejecting the Government's plans to extend the opening of primary schools.

Oxford Trade Union Covid Action group has called an online public meeting for today and the group will also support two national days of action planned for tomorrow and Monday.

Ian Mckendrick, a nurse from the group, said: "It is the lockdown alone that is bringing the rate of infection down.

"There is no other tested strategy in place, and a real risk infection rates will rise, flooding the NHS with new cases if the lockdown is eased too soon.

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"The NHS was just about able to cope with the first wave of the pandemic because it cancelled all but the most critical work.

"Normally the NHS is able to diagnose 30,000 cases of cancer a month. Last month this was down to just 5,000.

"The Government is prioritising the needs of business over the health of people.

"This approach led to a late lockdown giving us the worst death toll in Europe."

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Leigh Seedhouse, joint district and branch secretary for Oxfordshire NEU, added: "It is clear from the evidence Independent SAGE has collected that June 1 is simply too early to go back.

"By going ahead with this dangerous decision, the Government is further risking the health of our communities and the likelihood of a second spike.

"It remains the case that the National Education Union does not yet think it safe for the wider opening of schools."

Shadow cabinet member for education at the county council, Emma Turnbull, said: "The Government urgently needs to listen to the concerns raised by parents, teachers, scientists and councillors about the risks to public health posed by a wider school reopening."