Confusion reigns for parents as entire classes are emptied over single cases of Covid after the government told us children were unlikely to suffer serious effects. With summer hols days away, education takes another massive hit.
That’s it. No more. Not a single word. The government’s latest missteps in its handling of the coronavirus pandemic lead to only one conclusion: our leaders have no idea what they are doing. Unless of course, you’re talking about erstwhile Health Secretary Matt Hancock and his roving hands.
Because the revelation of a sharp rise in the number of pupils sent home from school in England due to Covid just doesn’t make sense. It’s mind-boggling that 375,000 children – up 130,000 in just one week – are kicking their heels at home after they have already suffered devastating long-term consequences for their education with months of lockdown.
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A colleague tells me of his eight-year-old being put into self-isolation for 10 days after one child in a class of 30 contracted the virus. The same situation in the other class in her year group. That means a total of 600 school days, call it 3,600 teaching hours, lost for those pupils and this is just a single year cohort in one English school. There’s no catch-up for that.
What’s infuriating is that the vast majority of self-isolating school pupils are doing so due to potential contact in school or the community. Only four percent of that total of 375,000 are actual confirmed cases.
How many parents would be prepared to send their kids to school knowing the chances of their kids catching Covid are four in 100? Not everyone, sure, but with just a few weeks left before the long summer break for England’s 8.9 million schoolkids and the last academic year a disaster, any time spent in class is certainly at a premium. Why not give frazzled mums and dads the choice?
Because, forgive me if I was sleeping but I seem to remember we were told that children, particularly those under 18 years old, who we aren’t even bothering to vaccinate at the moment, were less likely to catch coronavirus and, if they do, are unlikely to develop serious symptoms that might need hospitalisation? And if that is no longer the case, then why is there no clamour for rolling out immunisation for kids?
The idiocy of this position for head teachers – and I’m certainly not blaming them, after all, they are following the government’s guidelines – is that many of us now have children being offered summer school schemes – let’s call them what they are, catch-up sessions – while at the same time, during the actual school term, those same children are being sent home and told to self-isolate. So what is it? Learn or loiter?
Unfortunately the teleporter’s bust so we can’t do both at the same time.
The whole vaccine scenario we were sold last year, where a fully immunised population would be set free to roam the globe just hasn’t materialised and no one seems ready to actually put a pin on the date on when that might be the case. If ever.
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Meanwhile, centre court at Wimbledon is filling up nicely every day, Wembley is set to welcome a total of about 200,000 fans for the European Championship finals and the rules are being bent to allow a foreign elite of UEFA officials and VIPs to skip around the inconveniences the rest of us little people must endure or face a fine.
As the government trashes our kids’ education and struggles to communicate clear messaging so that even its own ministers comply, we are offered bread and circuses in the form of summer sports to take our minds off the misery.
The problem is, that strategy just isn’t working.
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