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School Covid outbreaks: politics vs reality

Discussion in 'News' started by Andy13uk, Aug 10, 2020.

  1. Andy13uk

    Andy13uk New commenter

    Something that is deeply troubling me about our return to school is how while our Government frequently remind us they are "following the science", some of their recent statements seem in complete contradiction to any science.

    Coronavirus: Little evidence of Covid transmission in schools, says Williamson
    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-53718066

    Ok, this is where I seem to struggle. While I agree we do not have a lot of data about school outbreaks, there is some and from this evidence I think I can conclude there must certainly is Covid Transmission within schools.

    1. In June there was a 70% increase in school outbreak when there was only Y10 and Y12 in schools
    https://schoolsweek.co.uk/suspected-covid-19-outbreaks-in-schools-rise-by-70/

    From this there were 12 confirmed as school outbreaks due to C-19. Not loads but I would argue there is good evidence that school outbreaks are very possible. Also, this is from our own country when as few as 20% of the school population was in school, remember we are going back 100%.

    2. Isreal got 100% of pupils back to school in late May and within days had infections reported at a Jerusalem High School
    https://www.nytimes.com/2020/08/04/world/middleeast/coronavirus-israel-schools-reopen.html

    This school it is believed was the largest school outbreak we have had to date which them went into many homes and causes cases to increase significantly. When they opened schools they had just 10 new cases, today we had over 1000 (yes the countries are different sizes but we cannot say the virus has gone when there is 1000 cases per day).

    3. Georgia, US has recently opened to 100% of students this month (August 2020) and within a week has had to move to online instruction.
    https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-new...georgia-school-captured-viral-images-n1236249

    Here is a photo a student took who got suspended. Won't at least some schools in England look like this from September? It is unclear whether just this school or the whole state when online but still some great evidence of school outbreaks.
    [​IMG]

    From what I have read, in many states it is up to districts how they open and close etc so harder to achieve a unified approach, which many say contributed to such high cases in the US.

    4. France had 70 cases when schools reopened in May
    https://www.independent.co.uk/news/...ce-school-cases-reopen-lockdown-a9520386.html

    There is some evidence this may not have been a specific school outbreak but at best I would say having schools open would have helped the spread of the virus.

    5. Sweden has even warned the UK of the damage of opening and then shutting our schools.
    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2...ening-and-closing-schools-would-be-disastrous

    There is no evidence that anti-bodies remain in your system for a considerable amount of time, could be as little as 3 months or could be 2 years. Therefore Herd Immunity is a terrible ideal and why many in Sweden feel there was an excess loss of life due to their lack of lockdown.

    So what would be better?
    In my opinion we need three things for a better change of avoiding multiple outbreaks

    - A fully national operational Track and Track (where is this "world beating system"???)

    - Students in 50% of the time "one week in, one week off" as proposed by a Union:
    https://www.standard.co.uk/news/edu...pread-testing-schools-reopening-a4520486.html

    - Students and Staff wearing masks


    How are Politicians not challenged on this idea of teenagers do not spread C-19??

    I think that when we go back in September that there will be outbreaks and I worry that specifically older and/or clinically vulnerable staff will lose their lives and I am so scared about this. We have the opportunity to have a plan that is safe and works but instead Boris Johnson is off on holiday for 2 weeks having a chill while the our cases climb again and up to 90 people are dying per day at the moment.

    We have no plan B and when this fails we are going to be expected to magic up a new plan with almost no time to do so.

    Am I other only one who thing we are in a new dystopian world where the truth no longer matters??
     
  2. ACOYEAR8

    ACOYEAR8 Star commenter

    "Am I other only one who thing we are in a new dystopian world where the truth no longer matters??"


    No.
    Until TV programmes begin to deal with the topic of return and allocate equal unbiased time to each of the arguments (including the ones you've posted) we're totally bugg*8ed.
     
  3. madscientist101

    madscientist101 New commenter

    I'm so torn. Kids need to be back in school. I want to be back in school with them. They are almost definately going to be fine if they get it.... BUT real life means these students will be interacting with at risk people. I'm not even thinking about the teachers. No some will they have not been social distancing but have been in their own, often small, friendship bubbles. Not anywhere near the same as the 300 bodies they will be sharing air with in small classrooms for hours at a time. I have secondary age children of my own so seeing it from both sides. Why can't we have a staggered return. Year 6, 11, 13 first for three weeks then add more years?
     
    old_dobbin and gill11 like this.
  4. ACOYEAR8

    ACOYEAR8 Star commenter

    Because Boris and the world beating team have publicly promised we'll all be back -without the overzealous safety procedures -
     
  5. Andy13uk

    Andy13uk New commenter

    I complete agree. What my specific point is that they are saying all the science and evidence states that it is safe and children will not spread C-19. This is not even remotely close to the truth and is outright lies to get everyone back to the office as there will no longer be the childcare issue while schools are closed down.

    I personally would like to go back to school but safely. What everyone seems to be forgetting is if we get going back to school wrong the impact on our economy will be severe and could also cause the 2nd wave I hope we do not get to be much worse.

    There was a time where politicians were not allowed to lies with unrealised research and ministers when they get things badly wrong would have to resign. It is clear that this is not the case in England 2020.

    A great example is Robert Jenrick, I believe in Cameron or May's government he would have had to resign for his corrupt actions.

    https://www.independent.co.uk/voice...ing-westferry-tory-donor-resign-a9632171.html


    Also, add Germany to the list as they have closed some schools in one region after C-19 cases. They closed one school when a teacher tested positive, in England our current guildelines say we would stay open and then only send a year group home once two students test positive.

    https://www.dw.com/en/germany-closes-two-schools-due-to-fresh-coronavirus-outbreaks/a-54483737
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2020
    old_dobbin, gill11 and Catsoup like this.
  6. jomaimai

    jomaimai Established commenter

    I am scared to death! I believe I am not the only one. I am not teaching in England anymore but in September I will be teaching in 4 different bubble class-groups of 25/27 kids, year 1 & 2. My government will provide with a mandatory reusable mask every term, the worst protective ones and very convenient for teaching a MFL! The children are supposed to keep 1.5 mt. from me, no masks. The class teacher will be in the room. I feel I am being sent to the slaughter house.

    Children should go back to schools for them and for the economy but what about us? How are you feeling?
     
    carebear56 and gill11 like this.
  7. JaneBennet

    JaneBennet New commenter

    You put this really well, Andy. I find this normalisation of an increasingly dystopian degree of misinformation disturbing... And the ruthless cynicism of politically-motivated headlines like Williamson's soundbite leaves me feeling very vulnerable. It's such a shamelessly explicit dismissal of science and balance - a step beyond the spun rhetoric of old into actively embracing "fake news" (even though I hate the phrase; it's done so much damage in itself).

    I know this sounds a bit hyperbolic, but I suspect I'm honestly going to emerge from the Covid-era (assuming it has an end!) with dramatically less faith in our democracy and humanity. The amount of extraordinary individual stupidity and selfishness this has exposed just makes you despair...

    And just to get a bit darker, I'm starting to wonder if some people's behaviour in this crisis is actually helping me understand, in a way I never have before, how Naziism thrived, how genocides happen, how the very worst of what we are can thrive. Group-think, and a furious, emotive focus on MY beliefs, rights and needs, driven by unconscious prejudice or misinformation. A self-righteous rejection of social responsibility, and no recognition of the need for rationalisation or empathy.

    Paradoxically, I think, in part, the very best of liberal western society contributes to all this: increasing freedom of thought and availability of information, a bitter understanding of past prejudice = increasing lack of faith in objective science and the furious defence of individual rights at the expense of the majority...

    And the media's role confuses me further. Thank goodness we have our free (insofar as it is) press... but, then, it's surely, in part, the ruthlessness of the UK tabloid that actually encourages soundbites like Williamson's, dis-incentivises more measured reporting - and brutally punishes anything smacking of an admission of uncertainty or culpability.

    This has become even clearer to me living where I do (expat). Politicians' covid-briefings here are characterised by caution, balance, acknowledgement of fallibility and promises to learn from it. Journalists' questions are answered - actually answered! imagine that! Watching them makes me cringe with shame to think of our lot... I don't follow it nearly as closely as I do the UK, and then there's the barrier of reading/watching in a second language, but it's interesting. It's all very, very interesting!

    Please may we NOT live in interesting times... I'm tired of them...
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2020
  8. JaneBennet

    JaneBennet New commenter

    Jomaimai, I'm jealous that you've at least got some info re: what your place is planning. I've not a clue about mine. We've lots of meetings before the kids get back, so I'm sure things will be clarified then, but I do think in SLT's position I'd be sending a quick email along the lines of, "We're doing everything we can to minimise risk, and will explain in more detail on..." around this point. It does also impact on our prep. - I've got a responsibility point I'm struggling to do any planning for in advance, as I've no idea if gathering random kids / changing classrooms / assemblies etc. will be permitted.

    Gah!
     
    gill11 likes this.
  9. Corvuscorax20

    Corvuscorax20 Senior commenter

    where did he look for evidence? On the dark side of the moon? granted, its possible he found little evidence if he was looking there.

    He certainly wasn't looking in my school. We had oodles of it, transmitting all over the place
     
    Sally006 and littledragon25 like this.
  10. JaneBennet

    JaneBennet New commenter

    He looked where he damn well wanted & ignored the rest, cos that's how you do evidence in these enlightened times. Come on, get with the programme, Corvuscorax20! What are you, reflective & fair-minded?!

    ;)
     
    agathamorse likes this.
  11. Andy13uk

    Andy13uk New commenter

    To me it is a separate debate. What people do not seem to be pointing out is there was a recent time where you had to back up your argument with fact and research in a transparent mannor.

    I doubt you will find any teacher who doesn't want to support our students and I actually love being in school. However, if someone was to die and/or get seriously ill when we had the chance to go back safe is where I cannot understand.

    I believe it is data from English schools when only some of Y10/Y12 were in which will not be released and so is probably not strong to their argument.

    This country and its trust of politicians will never recover. They are still arguing they did nothing wrong sending old people back to nursing homes which killed 1000s. Clear as day they killed so many in an avoidable manner, are teachers next?

    https://studentnewspaper.org/the-go...blame-for-their-disastrous-care-homes-policy/
     
    old_dobbin, gill11 and Sally006 like this.
  12. Catgirl1964

    Catgirl1964 Senior commenter

    The government want to pull the wool over the eyes of the public, particularly parents’, in order to make them feel a full return is safe, otherwise they won’t send their children in. We know from outbreaks around the world what can happen when schools reopen but our govt seem to rely on the gullibility of the public and their apathy to not bother investigating the truth of the claims that a full return is safe. It is misinformation of the worst order, selecting just one dubious source of information which fits their agenda whilst failing to mention numerous other sources which show the opposite. It makes me ashamed to be English.
     
  13. ukpaul

    ukpaul Occasional commenter

    I've just contacted a dozen or so internationally based scientists with a substantial social media presence. The only thing stopping the government's first herd immunity attempt was increasing international isolation feeding into the population's response. Here, with them trying to divide that population, we need that international condemnation more than ever. Using children to spread the virus is not something we can let happen. Elsewhere they are looking on what the government are planning here with increasing horror.

    It is not too late to act, we do have some power. Contact anyone you know who may have the ear of power or who can act to negate this propaganda. Even if too late for now, we can enact the safest possible measures in school. Above all, act individually and against orders if needed. 'Good trouble' as the late John Lewis said, is not a bad thing.
     
    gill11 and Andy13uk like this.
  14. averagedan

    averagedan Established commenter

    I agree with the government's stance that we need to get students back into school, it goes without saying that being in the same room as a qualified member of staff is better than not being in the room with a qualified member of staff.

    From what I've read the government is correct that children are poor spreaders of the virus.

    The government's own modelling indicates that the outbreak in Leicester was partially caused by schools being partially open and trying to reopen which allowed the virus to spread across socio-economic boundaries.

    And.... We cannot eradicate the virus, so the government's current aim is to have the virus spreading at a rate that the NHS can cope with and keep the mortality rate down. If you look at current NHS capacity - the government has actually been quite successful here. The NHS reconfiguration has been an unsung success story.

    Multiple part of the economy have reopened, including mixing bowls such as Tesco, without causing mass outbreaks. That indicates that the current regime of hand washing, etc. is probably effective.

    So.... To play devil's advocate, on the balance of what I currently know, it seems sensible to me to reopen schools and respond with local lockdowns where necessary.
     
    josiee99 likes this.
  15. catbefriender

    catbefriender Lead commenter

    Here's a US principal with a practical solution to the problem. However, he doesn't seem to have that many students in his school.:confused:

     
    Catsoup and KeishaBecky like this.
  16. hubcap

    hubcap New commenter

    I find it all desperately sad. We do want our children back and they do want to come back. However this government contradicts itself so much, we no longer believe what they say. So how can we have confidence in them? If schools can open, why not theatres for children to go to? Or if the science says we cant have it all and pubs and restaraunts should close to open schools- what about the economy? Parents may work there- what about their livelihoods? Its like living in Alice in wonderland!
    Surely, look at the regions, get more testing before schools start. If the numbers are up at least have a plan B ready. Some regions are as high in cases as they were when they would not let the children from all year groups go back in June!
     
  17. averagedan

    averagedan Established commenter

    The advice given to the general public via Boris' briefing has been rather chaotic. I do wonder how a government with so many PR experts can get PR so wrong.

    On a positive note - the advice given to schools has been clear from the start. The DfE are normally about as much use as chocolate fireguards. This is a rare occasion where they have been competent.
     
  18. Andy13uk

    Andy13uk New commenter

    @averagedan you have misunderstood the point of this thread. I have already said I also agree in a safe way kids should be going back (read the union link where they state a safe way to do this. Going back 100% no masks no social distancing is NOT safe).

    Please re-read the OP as I said they are saying this is based on research that "children do not get sick" when I have posted many examples with links where this isn't the case.

    Previous governments would not have got away with this.

    The point "should kids go back" is NOT the point of this thread. More how is the government allowed to say about science and following it when they will not release the key study all this is based on.

    Please can you post all the research and studies (NOT opinion) that you refer to? You managed to not post a single link to back up anything you said. Your name isn't Boris is it?
     
  19. averagedan

    averagedan Established commenter

    You have written much, I don't think you can fairly argue this was the point of your post. You're quoting information that HAS been released. I can't see a point in your post where unreleased information is the main focus.

    This is the part of your OP post I was responding to. As I'm sure you can see it is salient, and my view being, on balance of the evidence currently available, that this is likely to be manageable. The government isn't claiming that children don't spread Covid as you state, just that they're poor spreaders which we have suspected from the start and has been confirmed in multiple countries.

    You haven't asked all the people who agree with you to do this. You're applying double standards. You also haven't done this yourself, you've quoted news articles not peer-reviewed evidence. The news articles you have provided are not tables full of data with objective analyses of potential outcomes, the news articles you quote are from sources with bias not written by scientists and therefore, by any scientist, are considered to be opinion.
     
  20. Andy13uk

    Andy13uk New commenter

    Well @averagedan this is something we can both agree with, their advice has been clear and not changed from the start. Let's have a quick look at that advice:

    We were promised that a fully opertional NHS Track and Trace would be ready, as per their guidelines. Not going to be ready for time so you have just acknowledged the first key issue, which I agree with you. While it has been clear, lots is either no ready (Track and Trace) or not safe (100% in, no masks, no social distancing).

    We are going back with no social distancing is required as "kids do not get sick". But hang on @averagedan, here is the DFE guidelines it says we must maintain social distancing wherever possible. If we went with the union approach of one week on, one week off this would be possible. The government has not ignored this and no inline with DFE guidelines.

    Assuming you have spent time in a classroom, you can appreciate that will never happen. My classroom is tiny and will have 32 plus me. How will this impossible situation allow for us to meet this guideline?!?!

    So we know you can be infectious for up to 2 weeks before showing symptoms, but I will only need a mask WHEN they show symptoms. @averagedan, can you explain to me how I will not get infected when I have been in contact with this student for two weeks while asymptomatic?

    I thought you said these guidelines were clear and good?!?!?!?!?
     
    andrea2008, gill11 and Catgirl1964 like this.

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