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Face masks compulsory in shops... but not in schools!/ Teacher bubbles?

Discussion in 'News' started by Manolos, Jul 14, 2020.

  1. Manolos

    Manolos New commenter

    Good afternoon,

    Apologies in advance if I have misread this but given that we are going to be coming into contact with a a lot of people come September why are we the teachers not being asked to wear face masks?

    I am secondary teacher and it worries me that other sectors of society are given more PPE that we are
    I am looking forward to seeing and teaching my students even if not in my class but surely we all need to be safe!!

    In addition have you heard about teachers being placed in bubbles attached to year groups

    Any advice/ opinions greatly received
    blueskydreaming, fashmore and Marisha like this.
  2. agathamorse

    agathamorse Senior commenter

    We're not doing teacher bubbles attached to year groups; we're teaching across all year groups as normal from September.

    As for face masks, we'll have to wait and see.
  3. hmblm

    hmblm New commenter

    I’m concerned too! Vulnerable teacher here who would like ppe before starting school. Common sense to me!
    fashmore and Catgirl1964 like this.
  4. sukhg123

    sukhg123 New commenter

    Where are the unions?
  5. Manolos

    Manolos New commenter

    hi, to be honest I am concerned that the unions havent kicked off like they have been doing. The guidance is very sketchy at best and if the unions are ok with this then this is worrying!

    My H&S union rep has said that having us in teacher bubbles avoids a potential law case against us for potentially spreading the virus should a student be tested positive.
    If we are told to go back with no PPE , bubbles etc,... then this could have been done earlier.

    Again it worries me that the unions have stepped back on this!
  6. Marisha

    Marisha Occasional commenter

    I'm in Scotland. This is what I got from my union:

    Safety First and Reopening of Schools– Message to Members 25 June 2020

    The SSTA position throughout the COVID-19 crisis has been one of safety first for all teachers and pupils. We have been guided throughout by the scientific and medical evidence and that will continue to be the case. We would all like to return to normal schooling but we are not at that place yet and not likely to be in the coming months.

    The SSTA view remains that schools can only reopen and operate safely if there are significant operational changes in place to ensure effective social distancing, strong hygiene routines linked to thorough cleansing practices, appropriate PPE available where required, and ongoing risk assessments in place to monitor operations.

    The DFM statement on 23 June and the decision for all pupils to return to school full-time in August was unexpected. The SSTA had been working with Government and Local Authorities in putting in place plans for blended learning in schools for August. At this point in time that position has not changed.
    PamDemic, agathamorse and fashmore like this.
  7. Manolos

    Manolos New commenter

    Good morning,
    We currently have 6 /7 weeks until we start back and we are being asked to provide questions/concerns we may have so no idea what is happening for September - but currently in UK it is back to normal in September. I am asking questions such as will there be markings on the floor to make visual 2 metre distance from teacher etc.... where will PPA/lunch take place etc... Do we need to provide our own cleaning equipment for in-between lessons to wipe down keyboards...etc... My school are fantastic regarding staff/student well being and safety but again it still worries me that a) unions havent kicked off b) no real PPE for teachers etc...
  8. botanybod

    botanybod New commenter

    I really don't understand why, given that the WHO recommend masks quite a while ago, we aren't all wearing them as a matter of course outside our homes, which would of course include schools. The UK seems way behind other countries on mask wearing, and the only reason for this seems to be we have a libertarian government. We are intent on following the US rather than of the rest of the world, despite all reason and evidence. I completely understand the argument that masks might impeded learning, but you know what, so would an outbreak and subsequent lockdown, or their teacher ill and off school for weeks (or worse). We're not going back to normality in September, so there's no point trying to pretend that teaching can operate as normal. Masks seems the lesser of two, quite different, evils. One involves an increased potential of death, the other does not.
  9. Manolos

    Manolos New commenter

    Health Secretary on LBC this morning saying that is in prolonged periods of time with people - no mask
    - what is a prolonged period of time? Secondary teachers will move from class to class.... surely they require a face mask?
    agathamorse likes this.
  10. koali

    koali New commenter

    I am a union rep in a secondary school.
    Myself and the other school rep asked if wearing a face covering could be put as personal choice on our risk assessment and this was agreed, as long as it didnt compromise the 2m social distancing and bubble scenario already in place, but I havent seen anybody using masks on our site yet.
    The tack we took was to ask management what they would do if a child or member of staff wanted to wear a mask- and they stopped them.
    They would be on very dodgy ground if they took disciplinary action against the staff member or sent the child home because they would not be reflecting what is going on in wider society. Also, should either of those individuals contract Covid and prove they had caught it on site, it wouldnt look very good if they could say that the management had actively stripped them of a voluntary control measure that could have prevented their infection.

    Our local independent primary school has the same approach but they find with the younger children, they are using face coverings more. as the young children find social distancing more difficult.Contrary to some comments in the popular press, the young children are not scared of their teachers in masks - it reflects what they are seeing in the outside world.
    Indeed I am told that this has reassured many of their parents who are Health professionals and encouraged them to put their children back into school.

    So although the government current guidance is against face coverings ( at the moment) because the social distancing / bubbles is seen as more effective, there is still the possibility of negotiating a position of choice if your management are agreeable.
    I think the main obstacle is that if you make things mandatory, you have to provide the PPE and therefore assure its quality and effectiveness to avoid legal proceedings if someone becomes infected and says that the masks are ineffective. ( but shops etc are working around that - so it can be done)
    Also,it becomes difficult to police it . You only have to look at public transport in my area to see that whilst 95% are complying with the face covering rule, nothing is happening to the 5% who dont because the drivers have no power to enforce it and are at greater risk from aggressive passengers who they try to prevent boarding than from the actual COVID 19 itself.

    I think if face coverings become mandatory in shops it will be interesting to see how that is enforced. If it produces the culture shift that has been seen in Spain and Italy, then it wight well be that face coverings will be seen more in schools.
  11. botanybod

    botanybod New commenter

    In a school it's arguably easier to ensure compliance, just as we expect compliance with any rules for staff and students. The problem with making it optional, is that if few people wear masks, they offer very little protection. Masks don't really protect the wearer, they they reduce the risk of the wearer passing the virus onto others. So if someone was to make a choice to wear a mask, if they're worried about contracting the virus themselves, they won't actually really be protected if others aren't wearing masks.
  12. koali

    koali New commenter

    Its all about public confidence.
    The more the culture shifts towards this, the less argument there will be.
    As someone who was a microbiologist in a previous existance i agree they are most effective for preventing someone who has the virus spluttering it all over everybody. However, I am skeptical about the viewpoint that they offer the wearer no protection at all. -I suspect that was the mantra created by the government when PPE was in short supply to prevent panic buying.
    All i know is that I have had to wear masks in the past when dealing with microbe samples far less infectious than this - even when I was in a clean room on my own!
    Catgirl1964 and rustycrayon like this.
  13. rustycrayon

    rustycrayon New commenter

    Why are our teaching unions silent on this when we need them????
    WitchFingers, scottcossey and hmblm like this.
  14. koali

    koali New commenter

    The NASUWT position on this is clear and written out in detail on their FAQ papge.

    it baiscally supports what I said in my first post. You shouldnt be stopped from wearing one if you want, but they cant make it a whole school requirement
  15. nervousned

    nervousned Senior commenter

    Have you contacted your rep?
  16. Manolos

    Manolos New commenter

    That is my concern... why are the unions so quiet at the moment??? If this were the case we could have had schools back earlier!
    Do we honestly think schools will open come September??
    WitchFingers likes this.
  17. cavanaghmarina

    cavanaghmarina New commenter

    That is why I have never joined union and never will
  18. Manolos

    Manolos New commenter

    Do you not trust them? I am feeling a bit let down by them
    WitchFingers likes this.
  19. nervousned

    nervousned Senior commenter

    Have you contacted your rep?
  20. ukpaul

    ukpaul Occasional commenter

    If unions are too scared to do anything then, as we’ve seen, all it takes is an organised social media campaign (preferably backed up by a high profile supporter or two).

    Catgirl1964 likes this.

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