Listen to teachers about whether social distancing is possible in schools

Please listen to teachers about whether social distancing is possible in schools. Think about the class size, the room size, playground, school canteen. Young children can be affectionate towards each other and staff, don’t fully understand the situation, especially primary school children. Teachers have also been told NOT to wear face coverings whilst working in childcare hubs for key workers’ children. Teacher have not been provided with PPE. Please also bear in mind that children have died from this virus, some children with no underlying health conditions.

Why the contribution is important

It is important to prevent the spread of the virus whilst there is no vaccine and prevent a second spike in new cases and deaths. It is also important to diminish the fact that children are resilient and immune from this virus. They are not. Children have died.

by AQ2018 on May 06, 2020 at 08:03AM

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Based on: 28 votes


  • Posted by Mysay7 May 06, 2020 at 10:45

    Also listen to parents who share these concerns about schools opening with ‘social distancing’ measures in place. It would not be safe and a ‘safe enough’ arrangement that places responsibility on young children and their teachers is not ok.

    No-one wants their children to be at risk or to pose transmission danger to their household upon return and defeat all the stringent measures you’ve taken as a household to prevent the infection. Let’s be realistic, each households capability and or commitment to be as stringent
    will vary and it just takes one weak link for the chain of prevention to break, making all the sacrifice of ‘lockdown’ to date completely worthless.

    Let’s instead, find ways to harness what’s working for children in many of their homes (nurture, informal learning, access to learning resources, online link to their teachers and an offering of ‘formal’ classwork. For many, being at home instead of at school will be an enriching experience that will help consolidate and enhance their overall learning which will contribute to their achievement when they return to school when it’s safe to. It also affords parents a greater opportunity for real and active participation in their child’s learning.

    We do however need to remember that not all households will be safe, not all will have resources, will not all have equal capacity and without investment and appropriate support, children in these households will suffer during school closures. We need to find a resolve that meets their needs too. That would require access to technology, physical resources, virtual contact that is really supportive and tailored to the needs of the children in that household, supportive safeguarding measures, etc.

    Let’s translate what works during this lockdown into creating our new ‘normal’ going forward and not rush to go back to the old ‘normal’.

    At the very least, let’s offer parents choice about returning to school before there’s a vaccine/ minimal risk rather than taking a decision which makes it compulsory.
  • Posted by IndyScot1000 May 06, 2020 at 11:15

    agree, good ideas, we DO need to find safer ways
  • Posted by Edin1234 May 06, 2020 at 13:26

    We do need to listen to teachers, parents and children. While home schooling may be a lovely experience for some, for most it is a stressful juggle between trying to find learning activities for the children (learning materials being issued by schools varies considerably - some are excellent, while some children are getting next to nothing). Most parents are also juggling trying to do their own work. The current situation is far from ideal and therefore finding a way to improve the social connection for children and continue their education is necessary - the status quo cannot carry on until a vaccine is available. There is a risk with reopening schools, but there are also very real risks with continuing social distancing for the medium and longer term. The compromise is to make schooling as safe as possible for all - that may well mean PPE for teachers and staff.
  • Posted by Ally1987 May 06, 2020 at 14:05

    Social distancing is impossible within schools. How can you tell children to stay 2m apart, especially during play time?

    Far too much debate is about the safety of the children (they don't seem to contract the virus at the same rate adults do).

    What about the teachers, where's the protection for them?
  • Posted by borisj May 06, 2020 at 14:32

    Schools are petri dishes for infections, so may shared surfaces, close proximity work around tables, eating together in canteens, sharing toilets. Add to that the fact that schools cannot prevent kids fighting each other and the natural cruelty of children to each other (mostly in the form of bullying) and you have a hotpot of infection which they will take home and supply to their families.

    Schools are highly social and should not open before other highly social places like cinemas, restaurants, bars, etc.
  • Posted by digitalgareth May 06, 2020 at 14:49

    It seems impossible to get younger children to distance. I want my kids back in school and nursery, but I doubt it'll be safe
  • Posted by Codiggity May 06, 2020 at 14:54

    Cases of children without pre-existing health conditions dying of COVID19 are vanishingly rare.
    Lets not base our policy on a histrionic response to those few sad cases that have occurred.
    Closing schools for children of key workers would decimate the numbers of NHS staff (and others) that are available to keep essential services going.
    If there is data to show that teachers are high risk of contracting COVID then lets see it, as opposed to suggesting policy based on anecdote.
  • Posted by Sarahj May 06, 2020 at 15:25

    We also need to remember that childcare hubs are working with very fee numbers of children, and are struggling to get PPE for those.
    Also with younger children staff are needing to be helping with care needs which puts them at risj
  • Posted by AnnLang1 May 06, 2020 at 15:43

    Agree with all of the above children don't know how to social distance and will want to play with their friends. Schools and nurseries are not safe environments at the moment
  • Posted by yebaws May 06, 2020 at 16:04

    Our children will pay for this in more ways than one. First, they miss out on a proper education, second, they will be put out of the school system into a non-existent job market, third, they will spend at least the first years of their working lives paying off the enormous national debt that this lockdown has resulted in.

    We need to start seeing the bigger picture. How many people will die from lack of cancer screening, critical disease care, poverty and abuse because of the lockdown? How many of our children will be destined to a life of poverty and everything that goes with it because of this?

    Yes, a very, very small number of children have unfortunately died because of covid-19, but children are killed every day on the roads. Ban the car?

    Our politicians need to start thinking about everyone's future and make and effort. There are many ways to minimise the risk of opening schools. They may not be absolutely bullet proof, but they can be pretty good if those we elect to lead actually made the effort and did some leading.
  • Posted by mpiper May 10, 2020 at 10:01

    There are many unknowns about the coronavirus, however one thing that is very clear is that the risk to school age children, and in particular primary-school age children, is essentially zero if they have no underlying health conditions. The reason to close schools to date is to reduce community spread and protect the health of teachers, and this was the correct course of action.
    If children in general were a high-risk group, schools should remain shut until the pandemic is crushed, but thank goodness they are not a high-risk group (quite the opposite).

    Schools should be opened as soon as community spread reaches an acceptable level. Pupil attendance in the initial weeks should be entirely voluntary to support those parents who do not wish their children to return immediately. In primary schools we should consider the "bubble" approach of small groups of children taught together, as Denmark - anyone who's had kids this age knows social distancing is not going to be 100%. Teachers with increased risk of any kind (including age) should work from home. PPE should be available. It will not be school as normal, but it will be something.

    In summary, I believe there are 3 key reasons schools should re-open as a priority:
    1) The risk to children without underlying conditions is low - close to zero. Children at increased risk, or those were their parents wish it, should remain at home
    2) Social justice. It is the most vulnerable children who will be most scarred by school closure. This will widen the attainment gap. And children will pay for the educational scarring they are experiencing for the rest of their lives
    3) Maintain public support for the lockdown and ongoing measures. In families where all parents work, and where furlough is not available or not offered (a very large proportion of the private sector), the choice is work and neglect your kids, or financial hardship and often destitution. This will erode public support for the lockdown
  • Posted by Rhodamac May 11, 2020 at 10:22

    Agree with mpiper
  • Posted by Charlj81 May 11, 2020 at 19:40

    I think masks for children and staff should be compulsory in addition to shift patterns for pupil to adult ratios. I currently work in a HUB, and there is no PPE and no encouragement to bring your own. Social distancing doesn't happen, and all we have is hand sanitizer. There seems to be the usual culture of, "educational staff are just bound to get it no matter what we do, so what's the point?" This is a risky attitude for both staff, children and the key worker families that they return home to each night.

    It would be great to follow the lead of other countries that are ahead of us in the process. I agree with comment above that not all school spaces are the same. Some schools have large classrooms and corridors, while others are the opposite. There are also open plan schools. Outdoor learning is a great option if your playground or local area caters to that, however this isn't the case for many schools especially in the city.
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