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No return to work without PPE...

Discussion in 'News' started by zzyzxuk, Apr 14, 2020.

  1. zzyzxuk

    zzyzxuk New commenter

    I believe that before teaching staff are asked to come back to school, we should demand PPE.

    Here's why:

    1.) If surgeons wear masks to stop their patients from getting infection in operating theatre, they can't be worthless, and many countries now recommend their use. To date, the real argument against recommending them seems to be that the government doesn't have enough. If they did, they'd probably recommend them...

    2.) Whilst (most) students may not get seriously ill from this, they can sure spread it around. Teachers (including myself) who are older are more at risk, and need to be protected.

    3.) If I'm being told to protect myself from infection when around town by keeping 2 metres distance, not touching surfaces, etc., why does that go out the window once I walk in the school building? Schools aren't imbued with some magical immunity that protects everyone in the building...

    We shouldn't be content to be the government's "sacrificial lambs" who will get exposed to the virus to help build up herd immunity. We deserve PPE and a safe workplace, and should not even entertain the idea of returning to work until the appropriate PPE is provided, and the appropriate Risk Assessments are made (by someone OBJECTIVE, and not the Government) before we should be returning to work.
    deemw, sonirra, blushingberry and 4 others like this.
  2. elder_cat

    elder_cat Established commenter

    I imagine there are many who share your concerns, if and when schools start to reopen.

    But the reality is that we have problems getting sufficient PPE, whether due to non-availability of items or logistical issues, to people who need it, so it would be a case of "robbing Peter to pay Paul", in order to provide what you are asking for.

    It's also likely that the effects of this pandemic will be with us for some time to come, which then raises the issue of how do we decide which groups of workers are deemed to be "essential" or "important" enough to be deserving of PPE from the available stocks. If we leave health and care sector workers as our first priority, are teachers then considered more valuable - and therefore more deserving of protection - than transport workers, refuse collectors, factory workers, and others ?

    It seems many people are going to find themselves stuck between a rock and a hard place, in the foreseeable future.
  3. FormosaRed

    FormosaRed Occasional commenter

    Perhaps we could have a special inset day in the DT departments to make our own masks, visors, goggles, overalls.......
  4. install

    install Star commenter

    I see the line of thought - but a little disappointed that there was no consideration in the argument of PPE for the learners too @zzyzxuk and others at schools.

    Safety for all is key.
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2020
    Sally006, agathamorse and PGCE_tutor like this.
  5. hhhh

    hhhh Star commenter

    Arguably people in a school are more at risk than some keyworkers-most primary teachers will have had a child's snot/vomit on them. Many children, including some older ones with additional needs, have no sense of personal space and will not distance/follow hygiene rules. I appreciate that some other key workers will be in such serious danger, but there are surely keyworkers who are not at quite so much risk.

    The other problem with teaching is that most teachers spend hours working at night. I am not just thinking of the risks of handling so many children's books. Surely the low exercise/rushed unhealthy meals/too stressed about Ofsted to sleep lifestyles most teachers live put them at high risk?

    We've cancelled exams. Is it not time to cancel inspections? For at least a year?
  6. zzyzxuk

    zzyzxuk New commenter

    I would argue that the government should be building factories to make PPE as soon as possible. If we can build a new hospital in two weeks, can't we build a mask factory in a few months? Then perhaps we wouldn't have to make a choice between masks for doctors and masks for those in schools (including students)? Where there's a will, there's a way...
    agathamorse and bella2891 like this.

    ACOYEAR8 Star commenter

    Some schools have turned their DT Depts into mini PPE factories.
  8. elder_cat

    elder_cat Established commenter

    The problem is that everyone wants to feel safe. Unfortunately, at this moment in time we don't appear to be in a position to fulfil that need.

    If push comes to shove, then I imagine we could manage to build a factory or two in relatively short order. But building it would be the easy part.

    It's not unreasonable to assume that when schools start to reopen, workers from other sectors will also begin to emerge from lockdown, in an effort to keep the economy afloat. Surely, they would also be entitled to expect PPE, on being told to return to the workplace. Which means we're talking about a lot more people than just those working in schools.

    Sourcing the raw materials required to produce the kit in the quantities needed may be a real headache. I would be surprised if we happen to already have that amount of materials to hand, just lying around waiting to be used.

    Also, given the current issues around distribution of PPE - even with the weight of government behind it, and with the assistance of the Armed Forces - I wonder how we'd cope with an exponential increase in the amounts of kit. There's little point in producing bucket loads of kit, if you can't effectively distribute it to those who need it in a timely manner.
  9. djrfleet

    djrfleet New commenter

    A slight tongue-in-cheek note. A hospital executive contacts the BBC to ask for Burberry or Barbour’s contact number. What’s his point? Without going to the BBC I Googled it and got a number in seconds. Should I be running a hospital or stay as a teacher who gets kids to use their initiative rather than trying to score “look at me” points?
  10. Benview

    Benview New commenter

  11. Benview

    Benview New commenter

    I concur! I am older and an asthma sufferer so I certainly do not wish to go back into the classroom without the ability to wear a mask and protect myself. :)
  12. Benview

    Benview New commenter

  13. Benview

    Benview New commenter

    There are a number of business in the country that are willing to produce PPE. Indeed, just this week there was a manufacturer in Scotland who was ready to start producing it and the government has not contacted them! Also, regarding testing, South Korea offered our government, not once, but three times testing kits and our government did not take them. Disgrace! And they did work!
    sonirra, agathamorse and Sally006 like this.
  14. SteveWoodhouse

    SteveWoodhouse Occasional commenter

    I don’t think PPE for all teachers is credible. It’d also put us in a different category to other workers.

    We must return in the same conditions as everyone else. If everyone else gets 2m, so do we.
    dustmonkey and (deleted member) like this.

    SEBREGIS Lead commenter

    I was wondering if there might be a partial return to school, linked to a gradual speeding up of the economy.

    At the moment, my school has something like 25 children there, keyworkers and vulnerable etc.

    So - if we allow more people back to work (maybe 20% of the workforce) we could expand the number of children we have at school and still maintain social distancing.

    I'm not sure how successfully I could teach while wearing PPE. And if we are all walking round dressed like extras from 'Contagion', can we really expect the students to learn anything?
  16. SteveWoodhouse

    SteveWoodhouse Occasional commenter

    I think pretty much everything is going to be gradual, throughout society.

    I don’t think there’ll be announcement one day that just send all schools, all staff, all students back in on the same Monday.

    As long as the 2m rule applies in society, either we don’t go back, or we go back to classes of 10 maximum, which in turn means only a proportion of students, which in turn means only a proportion of staff.
    agathamorse likes this.
  17. install

    install Star commenter

    It’s an fascinating thought - everyone wearing masks. Lots of new rules and checks I imagine too. Imho it wouldn’t be workable. And if masks - why not gloves too.

    And how would staff/children speak and eat? And what would the health and safety rules be in the situation that anyone need resuscitating? And what about used masks left hanging around?

    The current situation - child minding small numbers in safety - will continue for some time imho.
    Catgirl1964 and agathamorse like this.
  18. elder_cat

    elder_cat Established commenter

    I think we're beginning to see the tunnel at the end of the light.

    By all accounts this whole thing isn't going to go away any time soon, and we will have to accept the presence of the virus as a long term issue until a successful and reliable vaccine is found.

    Perhaps there is a case for some form of government backed severance package, for any teaching staff deemed to be 'high risk' due to age or existing health issues, to lessen the hardship involved in changing jobs, should they choose to do so?
    Catgirl1964 likes this.
  19. Wayne040493

    Wayne040493 New commenter

    Hey everyone. I was meant to be starting my PHD in education this year but this is looking unlikely. However, I have been in talks with tutors at the university and have decided to do my future thesis on COVID-19 and education. If you are a teacher or involved in education . Would you be able to fill out my anonymous survey?

    jacboy likes this.
  20. crumbleskates

    crumbleskates Occasional commenter

    The other thing no one talks about is the risk from the equipment.

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