1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
  2. Hi Guest, welcome to the TES Community!

    Connect with like-minded education professionals and have your say on the issues that matter to you.

    Don't forget to look at the how to guide.

    Dismiss Notice

School non-closures and Boris Johnson

Discussion in 'Education news' started by hbee1, Mar 13, 2020.

  1. install

    install Star commenter

    Keep praying then because the final reality is often very different and often not as negative as the doomsters would have everyone believe. Imho this post is reminiscent of a Panic Brexit Supporter but now moving to become a Panic Virus Supporter. And still we have the false fake predictions churned out by some.
  2. WB

    WB Lead commenter

    Tiny bit more detail.
  3. -Maximilian-

    -Maximilian- New commenter

    I was going to ask install to explain the last post about false fake predictions, but maybe I misunderstood the post and now I can't find a delete post button. Did they mean the predictions of Brexit harming the economy or something else?
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2020
  4. install

    install Star commenter

    No. I am referencing a link though in the way that fake and negative doomsday predictions cause panic.

    Here's something more helpful, the Channel 4 Fact Check:

    'The Department of Health looked at the benefits and risks of closing schools in detail in its 2011 flu pandemic preparedness strategy.

    The strategy is largely based on evidence which is in the public domain.

    This paper modelled the potential effects of school closures on the spread of flu.

    The authors say that while historical data suggests closing schools nationwide can reduce the spread of flu “such closures have severe implications”.

    More harm than good?
    It’s important to understand that when public health experts talk about the economic costs of a measure like closing schools, they don’t just mean that it will cost the government or businesses money.

    Keeping children off school across the country will mean that many adults willhave to take time off work to look after them.

    Mass absences among the workforcecould have all kinds of unfortunate knock-on effects for the nation’s health.

    Dr Thomas House, Reader in Mathematical Statistics at the University of Manchester used the example of factories that produce vital medicines like insulin having to shut down, with devastating consequences for patients.

    Professor Jimmy Whitworth, Professor of International Public Health at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, talked about the possibility of food andfuel shortages.

    These are the kind of impacts that theacademics take into account when deciding on the overall effectiveness of public health measures.

    Many experts agree that the most immediate and obvious consequence of adults taking time off for childcare would be a sharp reduction in the number ofdoctors and nurses available for work at a time when they are most needed.

    This study on school closures published in the Lancet found that around 30 per cent of people who work in the “health and social work” sector are likely to have children to look after.


    Another possible consequence of closing schools is that people might have to rely on grandparents to help with emergency childcare.

    It’s well-known that Covid-19 appears to pose a greater risk of serious illness forolder people, so this could lead to some of the most vulnerable people being exposed to infection.

    Lack of evidence
    Several experts make the point that, while there is good evidence for children helping to spread other illnesses like flu, we don’t yet know whether children mixing inschools is one of the drivers of the coronavirus pandemic.

    Professor Whitworth said: “I don’t see any convincing evidence that children are driving transmission here.”

    Prof Keith Neal, Emeritus Professor of the Epidemiology of Infectious Diseases, University of Nottingham, said: “Children do not seem to get serious illness with Covid-19 and we do not yet know whatrole they play in significantly spreading the virus.”

    Will people follow official advice?
    Government advisers are clearly mindful of the need to bring in measures thatpeople will actually follow.

    At today’s press conference, the chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance said it was impractical to close schools for months to try to separate pupils because “the chances of keeping children not speaking to each other or playing witheach other over 13 to 16 weeks is zero”.

    The chief medical officer, Professor ChrisWhitty, talked about the danger of bringing in social distancing measures too early and people becoming “fatigued” by them at the peak of the epidemic.

    The risk is that, despite best intentions at the beginning, people stop doing whatthey need to after a while. Those managing the response to the virus want to avoid a drop in recommended behaviour at the time we need it most.

    Professor Jimmy Whitworth said: “Themeasures that are introduced are a social contract between the government and the people to control this. Thegovernment cannot do this alone.

    “We have to be supportive and we have to agree to it. If the government introduced really draconian things, people would not comply.”

    Do experts back the government?
    There is a spectrum of opinion about the government’s approach to the epidemic.

    Some epidemiologists have called for bans on large gatherings, more homeworking and the testing of every possible Covid-19 test – measures the UK government has decided not to take.

    Almost every expert agrees that thedecision on whether to close schools is a difficult one.

    Dr Mike Turner, Director of Science at the Wellcome Trust, said: “There is anincredibly difficult balancing act going on. Being too slow to react has potentiallydangerous consequences. Over-reacting is also potentially dangerous, though for different reasons.

    “And the core difficulty is that we are still learning about this virus and what is similar to things we know about othercoronaviruses and things that are different. There is limited evidence that closing schools and postponing sporting fixtures makes much material difference. Each country is making the best call they can on such issues with limited information and there is no ‘correct’ answer here.”
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2020
    sarahmoonshinebayliss likes this.
  5. ScienceGuy

    ScienceGuy Established commenter

    What has to be accepted is that millions of people are going to catch this virus and thousands will die. The best way to reduce deaths (not just from the virus but the knock on effects of hospitals working to and beyond capacity on it) is to try and reduce the number of infections at any point in time

    For school closures to be effective they would need to be closed for 10-16 weeks with minimal contact between students strictly enforced.
  6. install

    install Star commenter

    Not quite true though. No one has sound evidence yet to prove that children are even the major carriers.

    The reality is that many of us in fact may already have the virus though. The Govt are doing the right thing imho by approaching this in assuming that many more will be affected and that we develop immunity.
    ajrowing likes this.
  7. -Maximilian-

    -Maximilian- New commenter

    I watched the broadcast the other day, but I wasn't convinced by the arguments, but then I'm no expert. Many kids do nothing but sit at home anyway on their games consoles and phones. Many grandparents do school drop-offs and pick-ups and after school care already, so it will spread to them that way. If more people are at home working, then that reduces need. It would not be that difficult to try to organise some child-care for key workers as well. I believe some places are starting to do this. Two hours ago The Guardian reported this:

    "Hundreds of members of the scientific community have sent two open letters to the British government, voicing their concerns about the response to the coronavirus outbreak.

    One comes from 198 academics in the field of maths and science, calling for urgent measures of social distancing across the UK.

    It says: “Going for ‘herd immunity’ at this point does not seem a viable option, as this will put NHS at an even stronger level of stress, risking many more lives than necessary.”

    Another letter has been signed by 164 behavioural scientists. It raises concerns about the idea of “behavioural fatigue” – the idea that if the public are instructed to take preventative measures too early, they’ll eventually revert back to prior behaviour.

    The letter suggests that this has been a cornerstone of British government policy on coronavirus and sheds doubt on the evidence behind this.

    “While we fully support an evidence-based approach to policy that draws on behavioural science, we are not convinced that enough is known about ‘behavioural fatigue’ or to what extent these insights apply to the current exceptional circumstances,” it says.

    “If ‘behavioural fatigue’ truly represents a key factor in the government’s decision to delay high-visibility interventions, we urge the government to share an adequate evidence base in support of that decision. If one is lacking, we urge the government to reconsider these decisions,” it ends."
    Catgirl1964 and Sally006 like this.
  8. ScienceGuy

    ScienceGuy Established commenter

    I should point out that I am not an advocate of closing schools yet but I would expect them to close for a longer period around Easter.

    It is possible to get a rough estimate of the number of infections working backwards from the number of deaths.

    It takes approximately 18 days from contracting COVID 19 to someone dying from it. If this disease has 1% mortality then 18 days ago around 2100 people had the disease. Equally, the number of new cases goes up by around 33% each day (it has been increasing at a higher the last few days)

    That would suggest an infection rate of 2100 x 1.33 to the power 18 which gives an estimated number of cases of 356 000 - much higher than the amount given by the government.
  9. install

    install Star commenter

    I agree schools may well close.

    However trying to 'guess' the number of people with the virus is foolhardy at this point imho.
  10. Sally006

    Sally006 Senior commenter

    I made a very similar comment on another thread and got accused of scaremongering for suggesting that older teachers are really at risk and so fitted well with other policies which sought to get rid of the older and expensive teachers!! Ok I accept it’s not really a deliberate ploy but the end result might be exactly the same. I’m in my early fifties but genuinely feel turning up to work next week is putting me at risk. It is not a pleasant feeling, made worse by the fact that generally no one seems to care and you get a sense that you are considered expendable.
    Alice K, Catgirl1964 and Morninglover like this.
  11. install

    install Star commenter

    I agree with those who accuse you of
    scaremongering tbh. :rolleyes:
  12. Sally006

    Sally006 Senior commenter

    Maybe you haven’t got to go into the classroom next week and put yourself at risk. Am I scaremongering to simply state that I honestly feel afraid? Thanks for that.
    Alice K and Catgirl1964 like this.
  13. lizziescat

    lizziescat Star commenter

    Can you not self- isolate?

    You won’t get paid but surely putting your (individual) economy above health is not right
  14. Catgirl1964

    Catgirl1964 Established commenter

    Why is it foolhardy to use these perfectly sensible methods to roughly calculate the number of infected? It seems reasonable to me as the current position is not to test unless seriously ill. The ‘confirmed infected’ statistics will now be wildly inaccurate. Indeed, only a couple of days age it was admitted that the true figure then was probably 5-10,000.
  15. install

    install Star commenter

    You are scaremongering imo. Yes I am teaching next week - you are wrong.

    Do you have an underlying health condition and have you informed your school about it? :rolleyes:
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2020
  16. install

    install Star commenter

    Because no one really knows. And for all we know we could all be infected already.
  17. Catgirl1964

    Catgirl1964 Established commenter

    But showing no symptoms? Hardly like in huge numbers. It is a nasty illness, akin to pneumonia, not ‘flu.
  18. install

    install Star commenter

    The numbers will get bigger. We know that. We also know to 'self isolate' should there be symptoms. Here's the NHS advice:

    'COVID-19 is a new illness that can affect your lungs and airways. It's caused by a virus called coronavirus.

    These pages are for the public. There is coronavirus information for health professionals on the NHS England website.

    advice about staying at home.

    Urgent advice:Use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service if:
    • you feel you cannot cope with your symptoms at home
    • your condition gets worse
    • your symptoms do not get better after 7 days
    Use the 111 coronavirus service '

    And more details here:

    'How coronavirus is spread

    Because it's a new illness, we do not know exactly how coronavirus spreads from person to person.

    Similar viruses are spread in cough droplets.

    It's very unlikely it can be spread through things like packages or food.

    How to avoid catching or spreading coronavirus
    • wash your hands with soap and water often – do this for at least 20 seconds

    • always wash your hands when you get home or into work

    • use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available

    • cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze

    • put used tissues in the bin immediately and wash your hands afterwards

    • try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell
    • do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean'
  19. Catgirl1964

    Catgirl1964 Established commenter

    Install...you repeatedly quote this lukewarm advice that is common sense and we have all heard it so many times recently. The main point is school staff are equally as vulnerable to catch the virus as all other workers who have been advised to work from home if possible yet we are not being given the opportunity as schools have been instructed to stay open until told otherwise. Unjust imho.

    CLOSE ALL SCHOOLS NOW as universities have begun doing.
    erufiku and Sally006 like this.
  20. install

    install Star commenter

    Mmmm...it seems staying calm isn't on your agenda imo. You could always speak to your Union for advice. There is no evidence to show that children are the main carriers of the virus. Schools will most likely close at some point - but it isn't the right time yet imo.

    Which other workers in the public sector have been advised to work from home in the UK? Are you suggesting for example that Nurses and Doctors should stop working too?
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2020
    ajrowing likes this.

Share This Page