Schools in England are beginning to close again as headteachers impose their own circuit breakers and are sending children home to study remotely in an attempt to tackle COVID before Christmas.
Campaigners have warned that more schools could follow suit this winter and shut down after St Mary’s Church of England Primary in Hereford and Darwen Aldridge Enterprise Studio in Lancashire declared they were closing for at least a week amid a surge in COVID cases.
Arabella Skinner of parent group UsForThem, which struggled to get children back into the classrooms after they were first ordered to close in March last year, told a newspaper outlet that as was the experience of last year proved, these isolated instances of school closures don’t stay isolated for long.
She said that the concern was that in the run-up to Christmas they will see more instances of this, but for how much longer are we going to ask our children to stay second class citizens?
St Mary’s Church of England Primary in Credenhill closed for a week yesterday, despite implementing a deep cleaning regime, increased handwashing and sanitising, compulsory PPE, separated year groups and staggered playtimes and lunches.
Headteacher Bernadette Davies wrote to parents to explain that the purpose of this break was to serve as a circuit breaker and stop the transmission of COVID 19 throughout the school.
Darwen Aldridge Enterprise Studio, a secondary school that teaches pupils aged 13 to 19, has also told parents that their children will be studying remotely until at least next Thursday in light of the number of cases and the information given.
Current guidance from the Department for Education states that schools may impose short term attendance restrictions in severe cases, and as a last option where all other risk mitigations have not broken chains of in school transmission.
However, the return to remote learning will mean that parents who can no longer WFH will either have to take time off, whether annual leave or unpaid or find friends, family or other childcare. The proposals have also sparked concerns that online education in the run-up to Christmas could be a precursor to tighter constraints at schools this winter, and even indefinite closures if there’s a return to national curbs including WFH, facemasks, or lockdown.
Christopher McGovern of the Campaign for Real Education told a newspaper outlet that the interests of children and parents were best served by keeping schools open, but sadly, some headteachers and union bosses were trying to put pressure on the government by closing schools, and that the children of the poor would suffer most of all.
Perhaps the headline should have read ‘Teachers find a way to get more time off’.
However, we have to bear in mind that there’s been a consistent criticism of teachers and also NHS frontline workers, which is having an impact and they appear to be leaving at a rate like never before.
But this pandemic has been going on for so long now that teachers, doctors and office workers have got used to this cushy way of working, mind you, our education system has become rotten, and now children aren’t learning that much.
It boils down to this, this has to end because schools shouldn’t be permitted to just close without permission from the Education Ministry. Otherwise, it will just be abused with schools closing a week early for Christmas and starting late in the New Year, and this relentless push to keep children out of education is screwing up their education and futures.