Keep schools closed until vaccine found

i am going to leave the science to the scientists, and instead talk about the reality of modern schooling. 1) CHILDREN'S HYGIENE HABITS: Anyone who has spent significant time with children (and even some teenagers) can attest to the fact that their hygiene can be somewhat lacking. I'm sure we all have a memory of kids at school wiping runny noses on sleeves, coughing without covering their mouths, sneezing into their hands and then touching the desk, their jotter, etc. Before you know it, that jotter has become a portal of infection; being passed around the class, touched by other pupils, by the teacher, etc. The very idea of containing a virus whilst contending with the underdeveloped hygiene of many kids is frankly ludicrous. 2) SOME YOUNG PEOPLE WILL "WEAPONISE" COUGHING Don't get me wrong, the vast majority of secondary school kids are actually reasonable and sensible young people. But there is a significant minority who, for a variety of reasons, can be aggressive, and even abusive towards their teachers and fellow pupils. At the best of times teachers are faced with these troubled kids swearing, throwing chairs, slamming doors, fighting fellow pupils, etc. Some may even carry knives and other weapons. The sad reality is that it's highly likely such pupils will be only too happy to have a weapon on them at all times, one that can't be confiscated; the ability to cough! Let's face facts - some kids WILL use this virus as a "weapon". They WILL cough on people. They WILL spit on people. It is impossible to reopen the schools without this occurring. 3) SCHOOL BUILDINGS ARE UNSUITABLE FOR DISTANCING school corridors are narrow. Classrooms are cramped. Even with reduced numbers of pupils and a one way system in the corridors it will still be virtually impossible to maintain social distancing 4) KIDS TEND TO BE "SWITCHED OFF" IN THE RUN UP TO THE SUMMER: We've all been there. The exams and assessments are over. Modules completed and coursework submitted. Even though school is technically still on, our minds switched off on the first of June. Some classes become like a holiday club, a holding pen for kids who have mentally checked out after an exhausting year and can't see the point of starting new work when they're going to forget it all over the summer anyway. Some teachers lean into this: I was shown the first 50 minutes of Shrek about 12 times in the run up to the summer holiday in S2. Some teachers valiantly try to teach on, ignoring the glazed over eyes of the kids. Either way, the reality is that there's not much learning going on. This is at the best of times. I can't even imagine trying to get the kids to focus after all the time off and uncertainty. When there is not the fear of failing exams to motivate them and everything's up in the air. Would YOU be studying for your future right now, or thinking "ah what's the point in thinking about the future: in six months the unis might not be open, the exams might not be on, we might all be dead". How engaged with learning will anyone really be?

Why the contribution is important

TEACHERS ARE PEOPLE TOO! I cannot emphasise this enough! There seems to be a belief that cos kids are mainly unaffected by the virus then it's safe to open the schools. But what about the teachers?? What about the cleaners, janitors, catering staff, office staff, etc, etc?? Are their lives worth risking?! Just a few weeks ago an otherwise healthy teacher in her early 30s died of covid19 in England. She was one of the volunteers looking after key workers' kids. She will be the tip of a tragic and devastating iceberg if we start reopening the schools too early. Let's not allow her death to have been in vain. Learn the lesson - even young and healthy people can die from this illness. They are human beings with lots to offer and with people who love them. Let's not force them to choose between their jobs and their lives. PLEASE let's be sensible and keep the schools closed until we have a vaccine. Think of the great teacher you had who built your confidence, imparted knowledge, shaped your young life. PLEASE don't let them be cannon fodder. Another tragic statistic. Keep the schools closed!

by CitizenKim on May 11, 2020 at 04:54PM

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Comments

  • Posted by Shaws1 May 11, 2020 at 17:51

    Many pupils are studying hard and looking to the future- rather than just giving up on school for now. I think most people agree that schools will not re-open before the summer but we will need to find a way of managing to get people back in- at least part time - in the autumn term, whether a vaccine has been found or not. Otherwise pupils' attainment will be affected negatively.
  • Posted by JVL May 11, 2020 at 18:54

    Not possible. A vaccine may never be developed! Even if one is found it could be years before it is widely available Education is so vital and you are suggesting putting it on hold indefinitely?! Think of the long term implications
  • Posted by GJBB May 11, 2020 at 21:03

    This might result in no education for decades! A vaccine is not a certanty- we don't have one yet for the common cold, despite 50 years of research . We may have to learn to live with the virus for decades- malaria still kills 430,000 people a year and has been with us for 100s of years, despite all the research to get rid of it.
  • Posted by CitizenKim May 11, 2020 at 21:04

    Whilst I do agree education is vital, it is not worth risking people's lives for. There are other means, for example virtual learning, posting out books and resources, Skype lessons, etc. Whilst not ideal, these are surely preferable to risking teachers' lives? Shaws1, sorry I didn't really express myself clearly at all in the original post. After reading it over I realise it sounds like I am suggesting that all the kids will have a fatalistic attitude and we should enable or encourage this, which is not at all what I meant. I think what I mean to say is that the 4 weeks between the end of assessments and start of summer holidays are probably one of the least vital and least productive periods of a kid's education. If some parents are pushing for a resumption of schooling on 1st June (which many are), then I think they have to be honest and admit that this is more as a means to fit around their own jobs, and to use school as a form of free childcare. To suggest it's because those 3 weeks in June are educationally significant is delusional, in my opinion. I know of several schools who are floating the idea of a partial return in June, which is far too soon. Hopefully you are right in saying it won't be before summer break. Apologies that I sounded like I was minimising the hard work or ambition of many young people, I realise my wording was poor.
  • Posted by CitizenKim May 11, 2020 at 21:07

    I hope this works. It is a point that I meant to raise in my original post: The number of parents who view schools as a source of free child care is absolutely staggering. I understand the reality that working parents do rely on schools to look after their kids. But the primary purpose of a school is to EDUCATE your child, not babysit your child. At the moment the kids can be adequately educated via virtual lessons, there is no educational need to open the schools. I have seen proponents of an early return stating that "kids are low risk", so it's all fine. And are kids the only ones in a school? Are the lives of the teachers, janitors, cleaners, dinner ladies, etc all inconsequential and unimportant? I really do empathise with the financial struggles of many at the moment. But I can assure you that teachers', etc's lives are more important than ANYONE'S bills.
  • Posted by GJBB May 11, 2020 at 21:49

    We all have to accept risk Do you propose it would be ok for all doctors, nurses, hospital cleaners, paramedics etc stop work until no risk? This virus may be endemic for decades.
  • Posted by JVL May 11, 2020 at 21:57

    It’s not about viewing school as “free child care.” It’s about being concerned your child will miss out on vital education. It’s easy to say children can do remote/online/school learning but in practice parents are either unable to facilitate this due to work/time restrictions or lack the knowledge/confidence to properly support their child with schooling
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