The decision to reopen primary and secondary schools in England for certain age groups has been met with backlash as polls by the Daily Mail and the Sunday Telegraph show 60 percent of parents do not want to send their children back to school.
Similarly, Patrick Roach, General Secretary of teaching union NASUWT, feels the PM has “failed to reassure parents and teachers that opening schools so early will be safe,” whilst the government and NHS advertise, “Children can get coronavirus (COVID-19), but they seem to get it less often than adults and it’s usually less serious.”
“Children can get coronavirus (COVID-19), but they seem to get it less often than adults and it’s usually less serious.”NHS page on Coronavirus in Children
There’s no guarantee sending Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 full-time, with Year 10 and 12 part-time on 1 June is 100 percent safe. Staff are still expected to teach despite the risks involved.
To combat anxiety, Devon County Council has set out clear guidelines. A school unprepared for measures may not be allowed to open or may only be open to some year groups but not others. Also, children who live with someone considered clinically vulnerable, but not clinically extremely vulnerable (shielding) are able to attend school.
Other measures will look like those exercised in Tuel Lane infant school, Sowerby Bridge, West Yorkshire. The headteacher Judy Shaw has said desks “will be separated”, with “(w)indows and doors [to be] kept open.” Students at the infant school are to have a “zipped, plastic wallet” each, with stationery to be used by them only. Shaw has said the staff “will clean the classrooms regularly, wiping surfaces and equipment.” The intention of this being to protect the staff, who are at a greater risk than children to the more serious effects of COVID-19.
Whilst these measures are subject to an individual school’s capability, any worries from parents, staff or students can be answered via the contact details provided by the government on the Devon County Council website.
Editor Chloe Pumares