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Head wants to accept pupil into my class less than 14 days after travelling from USA

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by MaryPoppinsBag, Jun 4, 2020.

  1. MaryPoppinsBag

    MaryPoppinsBag New commenter

    Please let me know I'm not being 'a silly billy' in my alarm when informed (at 8 pm tonight) that my small independent school head has told a family that we will accept their 2 children (aged 6 and 10) back into school tomorrow when they only returned from the USA 6 days ago. Apparently he, and the very insistent family, feels it will be ok 'because they have been tested'!

    We are already pushing the limits, I feel, in terms of social distancing - small classrooms mean pods of 9 - 12 children (less children than some have to have admittedly) are not 1 metre apart let alone 2. Pile on top of this the long exhausting days (with our pod of children 9.30 to 4 with only half an hour break at lunch, no PPA). Oh, and while we are not allowing parents into the building at all, my head merrily invited 2 prospective (to join the school) parents and their small child into school for a show round once our children had left (but teachers were still in the building) today.

    Thoughts??? I am within my rights to declare that I do not feel safe teaching in school and refuse to attend, right? I believe that was the union guidance.

    Thank you.
  2. Pomza

    Pomza Star commenter

    You have the right to choose not to work there any more, but that’s probably about it I’m afraid. Unless you can demonstrate you are in one of the stipulated vulnerable groups, I don’t think there’s much you can do about it.

    Just like all the people who have been working in super markets, driving buses and delivering stuff (etc.) all day, every day since this thing started...
    TheoGriff and Mr-Mathematics like this.
  3. install

    install Star commenter

    Phone up the Union direct and ask what you must do. Are you in the vulnerable category or do you live with someone who is?

    You can then say you ‘are being guided by your Union’ but do check.
    TheoGriff likes this.
  4. Abitofeverything

    Abitofeverything Occasional commenter

    I think it would have been more sensible for them to wait the full 2 weeks, but I don't think you have a leg to stand on and would be perceived as causing trouble - teh 2 week quarantine period for people flying into the country has not yet come into effect (shamefully). Is your school taking temperatures when children come in?
    Like Pomza said, NHS workers, supermarket workers, care workers, bus drivers etc have been having to work with members of the public throughout this whole pandemic without having a clue who they are and where they've come from. So unless you are especially vulnerable, I would just put up with this I'm afraid.
  5. MaryPoppinsBag

    MaryPoppinsBag New commenter

    Thank you for your comments so far guys - food for thought. I totally appreciate (and really appreciate ) that the NHS, supermarket and transport workers have faced constant challenge with regards to mixing with potentially infectious members of the public all through this period. My concern is that I will be in a very small classroom and so in very close proximity to a child coming from a country where the pandemic is particularly virulent at the moment for up to 6 hours a day. The aforementioned workers have on average less than 15 minutes in close contact with someone (apart from the NHS workers obviously but that is why they are wearing PPE).

    I'm just really shocked? saddened? that an insistent parent's needs over ride the heads sense of duty to provide care for the pupils and staff at school. I think if the pupils are coming to school next week then the parents of all the children in the relevant 'pods' should be made aware of the circumstances.

    I've emailed my union (staff are not currently available for phone calls I believe) for ideas and clarification.
  6. gainly

    gainly Star commenter

    Given that infection rates seem to be similar in the US and the UK, there doesn't seem to be a higher risk than for children from the UK. If they have indeed been tested and found to be negative the risk is probably slightly lower.
  7. 7eleven

    7eleven Senior commenter

    I don’t think this family from America pose you any greater risk than the the child from down the road, given our stats. Not to deny your concern. I don’t envy anyone working in schools at the moment.
  8. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    They've been tested and don't have Covid-19 but the children from the local area who came back Monday haven't been tested. So which ones are you worried about most?
  9. Piranha

    Piranha Star commenter

    I doubt that the fact that they came from the USA is a risk factor, but I would think that an extended period on a plane, with the recirculation of air, is a risk. But then, it is likely that other children in the class have taken risks over half term which the school wouldn't know about.
  10. Morninglover

    Morninglover Star commenter

    It may depend where in the USA the pupil is from.
  11. MaryPoppinsBag

    MaryPoppinsBag New commenter

    Update - so I've just read an email to the USA trip children's parents sent by the head at 5 pm today that they are welcome to come to school tomorrow. I was just cc-ed in and was not told of the decision beforehand. I would have liked reasons why this decision has been made and reassurances that everything would be done to ensure the children in my class's safety as well as my own, actually, as well as the children and staff in the wider school too.
    Not happy. I still think the parents of my pod children should be made aware.

    Thanks again for your words - it is very useful to hear different opinions. I, however, still feel 'thrown to the lions' and undervalued (as a human being!) by the management at my school.

    Please wish me luck.
  12. MaryPoppinsBag

    MaryPoppinsBag New commenter

    Yes - the time spent on the plane, as well as at the airport, was my main area of concern.
  13. MaryPoppinsBag

    MaryPoppinsBag New commenter

    You definitely have a point - but the time the whole family spent sitting on a plane (recirulated air etc) as well as at the airport is worrying.
  14. MaryPoppinsBag

    MaryPoppinsBag New commenter

    No temperatures are being taken at our school. Is this common practice at other schools?
  15. Abitofeverything

    Abitofeverything Occasional commenter

    Yes! Our school, and from what I understand most schools, are taking every child's temperature as they come in each day...
    Kaz_1978 likes this.
  16. frustum

    frustum Star commenter

    I read something about the air circulation on planes that suggested that it's not such a risk as I'd assumed. The air is drawn out and filtered with a filter that should catch covid-19, and new air is drawn in from outside. I think the circulation of the air is largely vertical, so most particles will be pulled downwards and then out. Trains are probably far worse.
  17. MaryPoppinsBag

    MaryPoppinsBag New commenter

    Thanks for this - a wee bit comforting ...
  18. Bedlam3

    Bedlam3 Star commenter

    You could point out to the head that you would have welcomed some discussion around this instead of just being informed. It doesn't seem like a good way for you to be treated.
  19. Stiltskin

    Stiltskin Star commenter

    Most modern aircraft recycle about half the cabin air, passing it through a number of HEPA filters which should catch the virus. This is topped up with air from outside and taken from the air that has just gone through the compressor blades in the engine. This means the air in the cabin is replaced around 10-15 times an hour (aircraft dependent).

    If they returned 10 days ago now then I think the risk is not going to be significantly different to your other children in your class. Your head should have included this in their risk assessment though.
  20. hs9981

    hs9981 Established commenter

    I dunno about plane safety with air filtering. Last time I flew back from a conference I was struck with 'Delhi Belly' at 30,00ft. Half the plane was wrenching for most of the flight. :eek:

    Thankfully I was sat next to a very polite Japanese family, who were too polite to say anything!

    Shreddies anyone?

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