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Inviting parents/grandparents for class assembly next week (!)

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by Kennersuk, Mar 14, 2020.

  1. Kennersuk

    Kennersuk New commenter

    Happy weekend everyone, thank goodness we’re here - it’s been a tough one for us all.

    My Yr 1 class have been working hard for their class assembly which is in the diary for this coming week. As the severity of the Corona situation escalated this week, I asked my head to postpone the assembly - as inviting a large gathering of people into school was dangerous. She laughed off this request with a comment about children not being affected.

    I explained again after staff meeting that I felt inviting lots of grand parents into school could be terribly dangerous and I’d feel overtly anxious and responsible in doing so & was again told the assembly must go ahead.

    Last night I sent a heart felt message explaining the personal responsibility I would feel for the well being of some of my classes elderly relations. It was totally ignored and I was ignored by my head all day.

    I’m so upset and angry about this situation that I’ll hand my notice in should she try to force the assembly, I feel so strongly about this. Am I being unreasonable here? Are other schools going ahead with assemblies with lots of visitors?

    I’d appreciate your responses, I feel responsible for the well-being of my children’s relations and couldn’t live with myself should anything happen to one of them.

    Thanks for any advice

    debbie4us, 8sycamore and caress like this.
  2. Grandsire

    Grandsire Star commenter

    I think you’re being very sensible.

    I heard the “children are not affected” line from my SLT earlier this week, along with the “it’s just flu, anyway” line, and for a moment the ignorance of it floored me. I had to explain to them the mortality rates of older age groups (in words of one syllable - at first they thought it meant the percentage of people who’d be infected!), and explain how, although they’re less likely to die, children are probably just as likely to catch it, and more likely (since they spent a lot of time each day picking noses and sucking fingers) to pass it around to friends and family.

    They listened. They have now decided to ban visitors (including parents) from the school altogether, and we will no longer have assemblies as they feel it’s too much of a contagion risk to have all the children shuffled up close together in one place (it’s a fairly big school and we only just fit in the hall as it is). Other schools near us are making similar choices.

    Things are hanging fast, and may accelerate further in the next few days. Depending on when in the week your assembly is, you may find the decision is taken out of your hands anyway. More and more advice and guidance about gatherings is being given to the public - you will probably find that most of the older family members decide not to risk attending, no matter what your headteacher decides. I’m sure a few parents will share your concerns but it would probably be classed as unprofessional conduct to tell them that you think it should be cancelled (or “postponed” - it sounds better) without the backing of your head.

    I think I’d go and say face-to-face, “I’m very worried about increasing the risk to our pupils and their families by inviting them in to see the assembly. Other schools are banning visitors and assemblies altogether. Have we read the latest update from the DfE? And are you really certain you want to go ahead with this?”
  3. bugsysmum

    bugsysmum New commenter

    Can the children not just do the assembly to the rest of the school? They can still go ahead as they have put the hard work in but I agree parents and grandparents should at least be warned that it may be a risk if they come into school. I think the children are not at risk line beliefs the understanding of protecting the vulnerable. Hopefully the grandparents will all make the sensible decision to stay as far away from large groups of children and not come anyway.
    Don't resign over it, just make sure you have put your thoughts down in writing.
  4. bajan

    bajan Occasional commenter

    As it's a primary school, surely you get groups of parents and grandparents standing outside the school gates at home time?
  5. Morninglover

    Morninglover Star commenter

    Outdoor 'meeting' is less dangerous than inside meeting.
  6. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    Yes again. And stay and play for little ones. And matches with other schools for the older ones.
    And in the morning. And lunchtime if nursery class have part timers.
    And the children go home to the same parents and grandparents coming to the assembly.
  7. Flanks

    Flanks Senior commenter

    Considering you are inviting the normal set of adults that will be constantly interacting with these children, having this assembly will in no way alter the pattern of contagion if it were to be spreading in your community.

    In other words, these children will still be mixing with each other in the day, still going back to the same houses, still playing with the same parents and grandparents, who will still be talking to each other at the school gate, at play dates, etc, and these people will be gathered together in the assembly. So nothing changes, whether you do the assembly or not. The assembly also won't speed up the spread, for precisely the same reasons, because of the high frequency of interaction between these groups already.

    So basically, unless the school closes I don't think there is a rational reason to cancel the assembly. Plenty of irrational ones of course, and I think your suggestion that you would resign if forced to do the assembly is a good indicator of your rational state over the matter.
    bajan, Lara mfl 05, CWadd and 3 others like this.
  8. sunshineneeded

    sunshineneeded Star commenter

    We're going ahead pretty much as normal at the moment - while there are no orders from our LA or the government to close. Class assemblies are still happening, as are stay-and-play, parents' coffee mornings, etc. Plans are being made for a closure, but until (if) it happens, it's business as usual.
  9. TheOracleAtDelphi

    TheOracleAtDelphi Established commenter

    If you were talking about taking a group of children into the local nursing/retirement home to sing carols or inviting residents from such places into school to watch a play then I could understand the concern, but as Flanks, Bajan and CtB say, the attendees to such events tend to be the people the children would be mixing with on a regular basis already so this does seem like a slight overreaction unless/until government advice changes.
    You do seem a little... overwrought? Obviously you shouldn't reveal anything that could be identifying but is there something in particular that is concerning you? E.g. do you know that you have parents/grandparents with particular health conditions that would make them especially at risk? Or are you very worried about your own family and the anxiety is manifesting in this way? Depending obviously on children and parental permissions re images and whether you have a safe space to share it, maybe you could make it known in advance that you intend to film the assembly so that any parents/grandparents who are unable to make it will still be able to see it and have a chat with your class/individuals within it about the fact that sometimes grown ups can't come and watch us?
  10. sooooexcited

    sooooexcited Occasional commenter

    We're asking any visitor to sign a declaration that they have no reason to think they've been in contact etc. Then we're letting them in. The show always goes on.
  11. Flanks

    Flanks Senior commenter

    What would you do if they lied?
    jlishman2158 likes this.
  12. frustum

    frustum Star commenter

    I was listening to a doctor yesterday, who was explaining that patients have been telling their receptionists that they don't have a cough, because they want an appointment. Then they turn up coughing.
    Sally006 and Morninglover like this.
  13. Lalad

    Lalad Star commenter

    While I understand your concern, I think you are over-reacting.

    Parents and grandparents are quite capable of acting responsibly about whether or not to attend the assembly; those who consider it dangerous will stay away, and that is their decision to make, based on their own particular circumstances and their assessment of the risk.

    Please think carefully before handing your notice in - your head isn't forcing the issue, she just doesn't share your viewpoint.
    jlishman2158, Lara mfl 05 and CWadd like this.
  14. CWadd

    CWadd Star commenter

    Take a deep breath and a step back, before you do something you regret. Handing your notice in because your HT will not do what you think is right is an indication of how completely obscured people's perspectives are becoming.

    Corona is a danger. I'm not disputing that. But you are taking this very very personally. You're losing sight of the fact that the parents and grandparents are grown adults - if they think going to a school at the moment is too dangerous, they can make that decision. If some of the children had normal cold/flu bugs they'd be a danger to elderly people - would you threaten to resign if an assembly still went ahead then?

    Your HT is being a little cavalier in her attitude of children aren't affected -er, hello- but you could be putting yourself into trouble. Just take a step back, and if shrapnel starts to fall, it'll be on her.
    sbkrobson and jlishman2158 like this.
  15. Outdoorman

    Outdoorman New commenter

    We have cancelled all events like this, including consultation evenings.
  16. Aquamarina1234

    Aquamarina1234 Star commenter

    Ours have got round this by cancelling the walk-in until further notice, and asking all patients to telephone the surgery, when they will be triaged and called back. Germy folks keep out!
  17. Outdoorman

    Outdoorman New commenter

    We have cancelled all school visits, parent consultation event, drop in sessions, parent - class assemblies, main assemblies, we no longer allow parents even into reception and meet them at the door and ask them how we can help them.
  18. Piscean1

    Piscean1 Senior commenter

    All assemblies are cancelled across all schools in our trust, plus no parents allowed in building. Don't resign over it but see how the situation develops.
  19. sbkrobson

    sbkrobson Star commenter

    They are older than some, not deficient.
    You make it sound like the day trip in One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest.
  20. BoringGiant

    BoringGiant New commenter

    The OP seems to have been wiser than most on here! They predicted Gov policy before it was announced. Good foresight!

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