Schools need to be safe for all

As a education service worker I feel that’s it’s important to realise just how truly difficult it’s going to be to implement social distancing within a secondary school environment. Corridors are narrow so pupils are funnelled tightly at period changes & the start & end of days, it’s very difficult for this to be policed by staff at the best of times let alone will exercising social distance measures. Classrooms being reconfigured to distance pupils presents significant challenges as non practical teaching rooms such as English, Mathematics & Social Subjects are significantly smaller than practical teaching rooms like CDT,Science & Home Economics. Even small groups of pupils in such socially distanced classrooms will naturally not always be compliant with all instructions. There has been leaps & bounds in distance learning during this crisis, the work being done by parents in partnership with teaching staff is incredible, our vulnerable young people are not being forgotten. It’s imperative that we do not let the young suffer more in their education than we need to, but it’s more important that we look after everyone in the education environment by only considering a phased return when we can ensure safety for all.

Why the contribution is important

Schools serve the whole community and as such it’s important to protect that community by providing a safe environment for both young people & staff.

by Mogli on May 06, 2020 at 06:51AM

Current Rating

Average rating: 4.7
Based on: 29 votes


  • Posted by Frances May 06, 2020 at 09:06

    As a retired primary school teacher I agree with this post and would add it would be even more difficult to social distance in primary and nursery schools . Younger children are more tactile and often touch their classmates and teacher . Going to toilet would problematic as would playtime and entering and leaving schools
  • Posted by Mysay7 May 06, 2020 at 11:40

    I 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 children (especially nursery and primary aged children) and their teachers, is not ok. No-one wants their children or their teachers 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. Realistically, each households capacity 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 and engagement with ‘formal’ classwork). Secondary school pupils perhaps have greater capacity to participate in virtual class lessons/ online ‘lectures’ and to utilise the technology schools have at their disposal to access teacher support, etc so these could all be utilised well to continue subject specific work and contribute towards readiness to re-engage at school when it IS safe to return. For many, being at home instead of at school will be an enriching ‘wider- learning’ experience that will help consolidate and enhance their overall learning and life skills, 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. Schools know most of those in their school who would need extra support and should seek to respond to meets these needs. That would require ensuring 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 and teachers choice about returning to school before there’s a vaccine/ minimal risk rather than taking a decision which makes it compulsory.
  • Posted by borisj May 06, 2020 at 13:35

    Schools are petri dishes for a virus, that's what makes a disease a childhood disease, it can spread very quickly and effectively through a school. Keep schools closed for as long as possible... isn't it interesting that Wuhan where the lockdown began to lift a couple of weeks ago think it unlikely that children will go back to school on mass before the turn of the year, and here where the virus is still rife we can't wait to get our children back into them. Yes they have people who are sitting the college entrance exam in a few months back at school, wearing masks, big spaces between the desks, but everyone else is going to have to wait till christmas at the earliest. Keep schools shut !! get the kids off picking socially distanced fruit instead.
  • Posted by kmack May 06, 2020 at 14:13

    I share the concerns mentioned above, and would also add concerns regarding the sharing of resources in practical subjects.
  • Posted by jlaud3 May 06, 2020 at 17:08

    Agree on all counts (as a teacher myself). Colleagues of mine who have volunteered at the key worker school hubs have already said social distancing and cleanliness have been challenges. Whenever it is safe for schools to begin re-opening, my hope is that measures and precautions are put in place equally across all of Scotland. Often, processes and judgments are left to councils or head teachers, but this is such a large scale situation with such vast implications that there must be a uniform approach across the country. Key considerations: - Staff numbers may be down due to health conditions, pregnancy, etc. Will a school be able to cope and run smoothly if a large number of its staff are unable to come in? How will this impact negatively on the health and well-being of the remaining teachers? Will the staffing be sufficient to run the classes allowed to attend? - Are there enough hand washing facilities for students and staff? - Will there be easily accessible hand sanitizer for students and staff? (kids, even high school kids, are TERRIBLE at hand hygiene) - How will the numbers of students in classes and hallways be managed to adhere to social distancing measures? How will this be applied to break times and lunch times? - Will attendance priority be given to senior students who will hopefully be writing national exams in May 2021? - Will year groups attend on a rota basis? For example, only S1s for a few days, then S2s for a few days, while the other year groups do some home learning? If so, will deep cleaning take place between the year groups attending? How can the Scottish government ensure that the same high level of cleaning/sanitization takes place across all schools? I'm sure that's only the tip of the iceberg, but it illustrates how complex the situation is for schools and how calculated the government needs to be before considering reopening them.
  • Posted by Codiggity May 06, 2020 at 17:25

    Histrionic nonsense. Not having schools open for healthcare workers kids would decimate many NHS departments (including mine). I have no qualms about sending kids to school - risk to them is negligible. Teachers are taking some risk, as are all of us at work - they have job security, which is more than most of society.
  • Posted by dundee20 May 10, 2020 at 10:58

    They have said: "It also affords parents a greater opportunity for real and active participation in their child’s learning." This sounds great - IF you are paid to not work have no financial worries and can do this with your children, but what about all the other situations e.g. where both parents are working full time and can't afford to loose their jobs? Should one parent loose their job to do this? Are the government going to pay that parent for their time at home trying to support learning and not working? Working parents are working 15 hour days now trying desperately to balance everything childcare, education, work, meals, shopping, exercise etc Is it really sustainable or ideal for many families mid to long term? Will kids really flourish like this?
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