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Are teachers about to become the new frontline?

Discussion in 'News' started by SteveWoodhouse, Apr 4, 2020.

  1. SteveWoodhouse

    SteveWoodhouse Occasional commenter

    There’s a story being picked up by several of this morning’s papers. Here’s a link to one not behind a paywall.


    The gist of the story is this. Hopefully, in a week or two, we should see infection numbers drop due to the implementation of lockdown. But what then?

    We can’t realistically wait and live like this for 12-18 months while a vaccine arrives. Apart from the damage to the economy as a whole, it’s dangerous for people’s mental health, we’ll see a rise in abuse, suicides, etc.

    So, as soon as we have it under control, we need to start to let it spread again, but slowly, by lifting restrictions in a controlled and limited way. The idea is to let the virus spread, but slowly enough that the NHS can handle the pressure.

    But here’s the thing. There’s a very slight hint across the stories that the way to do this would be to open schools again. The concept appears to be that you’d only be putting a limited number in society at risk, as not everyone has kids, kids are generally not prone to suffering too badly, and neither are most parents who are of the age to have kids at school. So the virus would spread, but not to everyone at once, and those most likely to get it quickly are less likely to need hospital treatment.

    That puts teachers right on the front line. Schools will become the new, ‘Controlled Virus Spreading Engine’. Fine for the young kids and their parents, but with teachers, who are more vulnerable the older they get, right in there with them.

    ltangi and L W7 like this.
  2. harsh-but-fair

    harsh-but-fair Star commenter

    What's your suggestion on how to go about lifting lockdown @SteveWoodhouse ?
  3. SteveWoodhouse

    SteveWoodhouse Occasional commenter

    Off the top of my head, I don’t know.

    Possibly start by allowing all public places (non-essential shops, restaurants) to re-open with enforced social distancing in place?

    Same with workplaces?

    Perhaps allow people back out in a completely fair way? Lottery? First letter of surname?

    Introduce some form of PPE for everyone?

    Introduce ‘Virus Passports’ so those who’ve had it can get back into circulation first? They wouldn’t spread it, but they’d help with the return to normality.

    That’s just off the top of my head, without having thought about it. Could be a million holes in any of those.
  4. SteveWoodhouse

    SteveWoodhouse Occasional commenter

    Other thoughts.

    If they go for schools, might they go for primary schools first.

    The kids, and more importantly their parents will be, on average, 7 years younger.
  5. violingirl

    violingirl New commenter

    Teachers wouldn't be any less vulnerable and young children are 'super spreaders'. Who knows? I certainly don't!
    little monkey likes this.
  6. Sally006

    Sally006 Senior commenter

    Horrifying notion. What I hope happens in the next few months is mass testing and that those who have had it and have immunity are the first to go back to work in all professions not just teachers. No one goes back to school until some way past the peak - September?
    bella2891 and Catgirl1964 like this.
  7. PeterQuint

    PeterQuint Lead commenter

    nadennis, snowyhead, Lidnod and 3 others like this.
  8. Sally006

    Sally006 Senior commenter

    Coronavirus: Scientists question school closures impact https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-52180783

    Certainly, supports what the OP is suspecting. This is really worrying. Yes, of course schools need to start to reopen as soon as it becomes safe to do so. What worries me is that the health side of things deals with too many unknowns but as time goes on economic burdens will outweigh the health ones. Where do staff in the “vulnerable” category stand? But then does that definition need to be re-evaluated? Slightly overweight and over 50? Slightly asthmatic? All sorts of factors will be emerging about risk as the data rolls in so to jump the gun is dangerous in my opinion. The notion that schools could open and still enforce 2m distancing is bonkers. Try that in a class of 30 five year olds! How big do they think our classrooms are?

    ACOYEAR8 Star commenter

    All of the events happening since the first knowledge of this virus came to the ears of people in the Uk have led to " let's see what happens if we......." approach by government. Of course children can spread the virus, of course it's impossible to control social distancing and handwashing in schools, of course mental health suffers is you're stuck at home and of course teachers will have to be there when a non teacher expert stamps some paper which applies one woolly policy to thousands of schools across UK.
    snowyhead likes this.
  10. install

    install Star commenter

    Sounds horrific. Children can be carriers too yet not show symptoms. And that provides an extra way for the virus to move from person to person. Besides, we don’t know enough about this virus yet. Young people and children have already died- it isn’t just the elderly.
    Sally006 likes this.
  11. Skeoch

    Skeoch Star commenter

    lizziescat likes this.
  12. PeterQuint

    PeterQuint Lead commenter

    The paper is being hugely misrepresented by the media.

    Including TES!
    Skeoch likes this.
  13. PeterQuint

    PeterQuint Lead commenter

    The TES piece can be read here, and is a disgrace (sorry TES):


    It talks ENTIRELY about parts of the report which is suggest it might be best to re-open schools rather than later, and IGNORES all of the parts of the report which suggest otherwise.

    The report is linked to above, but as a reminder it can be found here:


    Can anyone find anything in the TES article which mention the following from the report:

    install, agathamorse and geminiteach like this.
  14. katykook

    katykook Occasional commenter

    I think all of these experts have small and very active children at home ;)
  15. br0wnsugar

    br0wnsugar Occasional commenter

    I think that based on how badly the NHS staff have been treated, teachers need to stand their ground on the basis of human rights. I have the right to not put myself in danger of contracting the virus from spread carrying children who may have contracted it from their parents or other siblings, let's not forget. The urgency of getting children back into school will prolong the virus further. Our world should not be governed by economics.
  16. crumbleskates

    crumbleskates Occasional commenter

    Completely agree.
    There is a view that lockdown will be eased then tightened and so on. For months.
    We need the rest, test, test and trace attitude, passports for those who are immune (or so we hope),
    Contact app
    Social distancing as much as possible.
    We mustn’t be lulled into the one thing that is being inferred but no one is really saying, that once we are past the peak ‘its ok for us to get it!’ Statistics might change my chances of getting a ventilator but not of whether I get seriously ill in the first place.
    Are we all thrilled and relaxed to be told that we don’t need to wear PPE? Translated as, ‘We can’t get PPE for you, and we want to keep you happy working so we’ll tell you you don’t need it’.
  17. Ro13

    Ro13 Occasional commenter

    Sadly not all the teachers are younger!! In my school the majority of teachers are over 40. I'm 57. I love my job, I love the children but, if schools go back too soon, we run the risk of losing a lot of very dedicated, talented teachers ☹️
    install likes this.
  18. dumpty

    dumpty Star commenter

    I still think this has all become too focused on the summer holiday. Teachers do not want to talk about giving that up, the government (especially Sinak) is sweating buckets at the thought of effectively adding two months to the lockdown (it makes little sense to send the kids back for 2-3 weeks alone, the pressure to add July to August will be immense).

    I have written I believe teachers are letting a golden opportunity to get conditions changed go by and yes, due to the Holy Grail of summer break. If they worked with the government on staggered starts, new timetables with fewer hours in school and much lower class numbers to assist virus control then it could be teaching conditions are changed permanently for the better. It will not be easy, it might prove impossible.

    But if they don't (and sadly they won't it seems) then as usual faceless bureaucrats will decide everything and order teachers back to the same old or - likely- worse conditions.

    It is not just a lock down but a locked in mindset that could cost most.
  19. ACOYEAR8

    ACOYEAR8 Star commenter

    Yes ! This is an opportunity to change things. After the Black Death of 1348, the heirarchical structure of England and most of Europe changed. We should look to History (for once) and learn from it.
  20. lindenlea

    lindenlea Star commenter

    I just cant understand why anyone thinks its a good idea to open primary schools as a first step out of lockdown, yet this idea keeps cropping up and is apparently, I read somewhere, favoured by Rishi Sunak and Gavin Wiiliamson. It would indeed put teachers on the front line.
    bella2891 likes this.

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