That’s as clear as it’s been so far today. The mist lifted for a few minutes but far too quickly returned.
In the UK the Government’s handling of the pandemic has been an absolute shambles and that’s putting it mildly. Sometimes following the science, sometimes following politics, sometimes it’s all about common sense, sometimes it’s about enforcing rules but then not applying those rules to themselves. Telling people a national lockdown would be an unnecessary madness then days later enforcing one. Banning many safe activities but allowing other much riskier things to continue. Dithering on things like masks, testing and social distancing. Culminating in telling the public to go out and mix as it’s our civic duty to get the economy going THEN weeks later blaming people for meeting up and causing the virus to spread again.
It’s just a complete mess. So how tough must it be for schools to operate in these circumstances. All major social gatherings are banned but schools are instructed to stay open. My beef here is not with headteachers but with those above them….
We received an email from our school yesterday trying to set out the current rules. To summarise
- Even though the country has entered a national lockdown the School remains open but large numbers of pupils and staff are isolating. The school has a number of confirmed cases. Pupils and staff are struggling to get tests undertaken.
- Pupils must attend school unless they have written confirmation from a Doctor that they are not medically cleared. Even if a pupil is clinically vulnerable they must attend unless a doctor has signed them off.
- If the pupil lives in a household with someone who is clinically extremely vulnerable then the government line is that the pupil should still attend school.
- If a pupil develops symptoms then the school recommends that the pupil isolates until a test is undertaken however this cannot be enforced due to Government rules.
- If a pupil is legitimately unable to attend then they must use the online teaching systems. They must stick to school timetabling or punishments will be issued.
- Masks should be worn on school buses, while walking in school corridors, visits to the toilet and while queuing for school meals. These will be enforced.
- Masks can be worn outside school buildings and at times during classroom time but not when answering teacher questions or during group work. The wearing of masks in class cannot be enforced due to Government instructions.
- Pupils are encouraged to observe 2m (6ft) social distancing outside of the classroom. Space does not permit that in classroom settings. The school is not currently allowed to install additional screening in the classrooms.
- Pupils must not mix with pupils outside of their designated year group during the school day. That includes family members and close friends.
- The school is still not permitted by the Government to make more general use of online tuition to free up space within the school.
- During winter it will be necessary to keep many windows open for improved ventilation. Teachers have the discretion to allow pupils to wear coats if the classroom temperature drops. The wearing of hoodies or non school uniform is not permitted.
- All out of school activities have had to be suspended due to Government instructions.
- Due to the number of staff absences it is likely that a growing number of lessons will be taught by teachers who are not the normal class assigned one.
How stressful is this for children, staff and parents. Its such a mess which according to the Government is a bastion of best practice. We are told schools are perfectly safe, feature the highest standards of care and that it’s a parents civic duty to send their children into school……..
OK so here we start another week of homeschooling.