Covid impact on Scools
December 8, 2020 at 11:09 am #197197
I no longer have any children in school these days, so perhaps I am not as well-informed or involved as those who do. However, as a member of the local community, we are all affected by the Covid policies and procedures practised by local schools.
To the best of my knowledge, as uninformed as anyone else’s, children may not suffer the ill-health consequences of the virus as profoundly as older generations, particularly those age groups categorised as being vulnerable, but they are still capable of carrying (and pass on) the virus the same as anyone else of any age. They may present some symptoms, or they may be asymptomatic, the same as anyone else. When schoolchildren leave school they return home, where they may pass on the virus to their family, who may then go about their lives without knowing that they have the virus at that stage, and thus the cases do become linked and do enter a wider community transmission status. It is for this reason that I have concern over some school covid practices.
During the current circumstances I, like many people apparently, have taken to exercise more in the form of regular walking around my local area. In doing so, I could not help noticing something of concern. Apart from the ever-increasing presence of Post Office elastic bands on pavements and the occasional discarded face mask from passing motorists, I can’t help but notice the close contact behaviour of some school children during breaks. They play their games outside as normal and have physical contact as they do so. But these are not normal times and I can’t help think that they should have an adult member of staff supervising the way they interact and prevent avoidable incidents of close physical contact as much as possible. I appreciate that in the case of younger children, a member of staff will be present to supervise, but it requires a more pro-active intervention than that, and should apply to older students also. Young students are not immune from the virus. You can’t just turn out all the children and expect them all to self socially distance when playing. And I see this in schools with students of all age groups.
How many of these children have the virus, how many are unwittingly passing it to others in close-contact circumstances, and how many are then returning home spreading the virus to family members and beyond?
It is important that schools must remain open as much as possible, and a great deal of collective thought has clearly gone into introducing excellent measures of good practice. I also appreciate that it is extremely complex to account for the behaviour of children during break times, but surely more can be done to control their physical contact through greater supervision and staggering break times to reduce group numbers.
This is based solely on my personal observation, and if I am being unfair I am happy to be reassured. But I know what I see.December 8, 2020 at 12:00 pm #197200
It is my understanding that the virus isn’t as virilent outdoors & that there is most virus spread when in close contact for 15 minutes or more.
It is unlikely that younger children stand still long enough to be in close contact for that length of time whilst playing.
This is probably why secondary school age children are more prone to contacting & spreading the virus.December 8, 2020 at 12:20 pm #197201
In primary schools at least, they are put into bubbles of single classes where no social distancing is required whatsoever indoors or outdoors within those bubbles.
This is because rightly so a number of child and educational experts people pointed out – it would be absolutely impossible to enforce children of a young age to socially distance at all times and stay away from their friends.
It might work in other countries where they teach authoritarian behaviours from a young age (like in Asia), but in the UK there’d literally be no teaching as adults responsible would just have to spend entire day shouting and getting children to keep apart. There also isn’t enough room in UK primary classrooms to keep everyone 2m apart at all times.
The way they are doing it is the only way they could have got the schools open, but it is still problematic when a case is confirmed in a classroom as it means 30 children and a number of staff then have to self isolate for 2 weeks. Then there’s a greater risk of spread because bizarrely siblings in other classes or other schools who have a brother or sister who has been required to self isolate are not required to do so and can continue in school despite living in the same house.
Everything everyone has said is true about children not really being symptomatic but can easily spread the illness if not careful to older family members or vulnerable. So it is of high level of concern the number of schools where outbreaks are popping up at the moment across Wrexham.December 8, 2020 at 7:39 pm #197229
It’s a very tricky balance between number of Children and Young People actually getting Covid vs those that could be carriers. I wonder how many of them will actually isolate when they are sent from school or how many will see it as an opportunity to group together in each others homes.
Looking at the current social media with different schools we must have significantly more than 2000 children and young people at home.
I wonder how many parents will keep their children off school next week thinking they can isolate before Christmas.December 10, 2020 at 2:08 pm #197342
Wrexham and Flintshire decision to close Secondary Schools ahead of waiting for the Welsh Government shows the total disjoint now. On this occasion congratulations to the LA for reacting to the data locally from schools.December 10, 2020 at 4:45 pm #197357
Primaries also closing 2 days early (next Wednesday) but with the option for individual schools to make the judgement call to switch to online learning sooner. The letter we received stated that there was a level of concern over the safety of the children for face to face learning due to an increase in cases outbreaking in schools.December 10, 2020 at 10:42 pm #197369
Matt, I don’t think online learning will go ahead, someone will turn round and say it’s not worth it just for a few days. The last online learning scheme didn’t last long some schools couldn’t be bothered after a few weeks. My granddaughter’s school soon give up.December 10, 2020 at 11:33 pm #197371
The Seesaw online learning at primary level at least does work – I don’t know what is used at other schools or at secondary schools. We had to use it for a month recently because of 2 outbreak class self isolation periods. The worksheets and teacher feedback is good but
I guess how easy or difficult it is to do at home depends on several factors, including your technical know how – as sometimes it’s quite fiddly to work out how to print off or complete a task digitally, also depends on parents having time to sit down and do 1 to 1 learning with a child (it gets trickier when you have multiple children of multiple ages).
It also requires there to be absolutely zero distractions in the room or house when being done as child attention span is similar to that of a house fly if there’s loads of other stuff they’d rather be doing.December 11, 2020 at 1:52 pm #197389
It will be interesting to see if the scientific data that has advised schools to close now given the rising cases will prompt them to keep the schools closed with distance learning in the new year – seeing as they are hinting that any Tier 4 restrictions would be equivalent to a full lockdown and that it is also inevitable that we will see a huge spike in cases come January after adults and children alike have been told they can basically just mix with whomever they please over the 5 day festive period as it can’t be policed.
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