Ross Greer: BAME risk assessments needed for school return

Councils should perform risk assessments on the return to school for Black and Minority Ethnic pupils and staff, the Scottish Greens have said.

The call comes after the Scottish Government advised health boards to conduct risk assessments for BAME staff.

After pressure from the Scottish Greens, on 9 June First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced the establishment of an expert group to study the effects of Covid-19 on minority ethnic communities in Scotland.

A Public Health England report earlier this month found that BAME communities may be disproportionately affected by coronavirus, as well as its social and economic impact. Most medical staff who have died from the virus in the UK are from BAME backgrounds.

Commenting, Scottish Greens education spokesperson Ross Greer said:

“The Scottish Government have recognised that the virus likely poses a greater risk to people of colour and have reflected that in their recommendation that Health Boards carry out appropriate risk assessments for their BAME staff. If they believe this is necessary for healthcare staff, it should be necessary for school staff and pupils as well.

“Pupils, staff and their families need to be given every reassurance that their health and safety is being protected before they return on 11th August. With so many unanswered questions around how the government and councils will ensure this is the case, Greens believe assessing the risk for BAME communities, who are already at greater risk, is the least that should be done.”