Open primary schools as a priority, teach in small social groups initially

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 have smaller groups of children taught together, staggered arrival times etc... 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.

Why the contribution is important

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. School closures 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, or 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 perhaps destitution. This will erode public support for the lockdown and ongoing measures. And support for these measures will be required to protect those at high risk from Covid, and keep overall death rates down

by mpiper on May 10, 2020 at 10:10AM

Current Rating

Average rating: 3.6
Based on: 5 votes


  • Posted by Tubsarooni May 10, 2020 at 10:57

    This is where kids with additional needs need a different protocol. I myself have a niece with additional needs and know many parents who have children with ASD, and who rightly so need a break. However, these schools need to look at how to do it in a very strict way, in order to keep safety and health of both staff and children paramount!!! Stricter guidelines and monitored.
  • Posted by SStar May 10, 2020 at 11:10

    Denmark's class sizes are very small. Today someone from Denmark stated that the r number has gone.from.0.6 to 0.9 since schools have returned and shops etc still.have to reopen. I agree that children and staffs health must be a priority.
  • Posted by mpiper May 11, 2020 at 12:29

    I just wanted to expand on my suggestion, in particular on the risk to children - because parents are understandably scared for their childrens safety, and I haven't seen this addressed by Scottish Govt. To expand the risk point, it is a fact that a child without underlying health conditions is far, far, far more likely to die in a road traffic accident than of Coronavirus. We accept that (much, much larger) risk to get our kids to school, as it's seen as an acceptable risk in return for educating our children to give them better lives (Because isn't that the point of education?)
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