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Should schools close?

(84 Posts)
LaraGransnet (GNHQ) Fri 13-Nov-20 10:16:20

We've been asked to comment on gransnetters' views on whether or not schools should close in order to help stop the spread of Covid-19. Do you think this is the only way we can get this virus under control? Does schools being open mean too much interaction between children and adults doing pickup? Or given the reports earlier this week on the devastating effects on some children during the last lockdown, would this be too damaging? Should a short 'firebreak' like that in Wales a few weeks ago be extended across the whole country? Is there another solution? Would love to have your thoughts.

jenpax Fri 13-Nov-20 10:29:07

Personally I think there was the case for a firebreak closure tacked on to the half term which would have been much less impactful than closing them now. However if the infection/mortality rate keeps rising I am in favour of a full firebreak lock down. Especially as there is a possible solution long term within sight!

eazybee Fri 13-Nov-20 11:12:07

The schools need to be kept open if at all possible. Most pupils have missed at least nine months education, and with primary school children, with the rapid rate of child development, that time cannot easily be replaced.
There may be a case, when the pandemic is at least controllable, for a longer school day and longer school terms, to make up some of the time lost, with a comparable reduction in all the meetings, admin and training that wastes takes up so much of the school timetable now.

ayse Fri 13-Nov-20 11:31:06

Secondary schools could shut but only if online learning is well managed and those at risk could continue to attend. Some children thrive on being able to organise their own work whilst others really struggle from loss of contact with their peer group. This has been the case with my older grandchildren.

I bubbled with my daughter and my youngest grandchildren (twins) earlier in the year and did some formal learning everyday whilst my daughter worked. For only and younger children on their own lock down must have been difficult if parents were unable to provide learning support.

The junior school that my grandchildren attend remained open for those at risk and for care workers in the first lockdown. Currently, parents queue with masks at a distance, collect their children rapidly and go. Very few parents are not mask wearers. Primary schools in my opinion should remain open as these years are vital in laying the groundwork for future education. This all in a relatively deprived area in the country. Congratulations to the head and all the teachers who have put these systems in place and also to parents etc. who abide by school policy.

However, government and Dept. Education need to recognise the difficulties that these times bring and should already have made decisions concerning exams in the summer of next year as many young people are already disadvantaged. I’m appalled by their incompetence.

lemongrove Fri 13-Nov-20 11:43:32

No, keep the schools open.My DGC have already missed six months education and it has also affected their mental health in various ways.They have just begun to return to how they were would be a disastrous move to close again.

Callistemon Fri 13-Nov-20 11:48:22

Should a short 'firebreak' like that in Wales a few weeks ago be extended across the whole country?

Schools still remained open during the firebreak apart from the half-term break
Years 9 and above had an extra week off but were supposed to study at home.

Cases continued to rise in Wales despite the firebreak but may have arrested the speed at which they were rising.

I'm glad I don't have to make the decision but I think, on balance, schools should remain open and all necessary precautions taken. The damage to children, not just from an interruption in traditional education, is beginning to be realised but may go much deeper and further than is being reported at present.

That is why I believe that those who are in key jobs which involve interaction with others, such as teaching, should be amongst those being offered the vaccine first.

Lucca Fri 13-Nov-20 11:51:50

Callistemon. I also find it hard to decide what I really think but I ultimately yes schools should stay open BUT I absolutely agree about the vaccine.

Jaxjacky Fri 13-Nov-20 12:07:50

I think schools should stay open, both GCs are a lot happier now they’re back. However, DD works in a junior school and with staff having to isolate for periods they’re beginning to struggle.

Cs783 Fri 13-Nov-20 12:11:58

I appreciate the consultation and would want any decision to be arrived at after as much consultation as possible.

I want good long term outcomes so keeping schools open or not BOTH need huge extra support and resource at the moment. If school staff are listened to and supported I’m in favour of keeping schools open. If they say not, then support for parents and caregivers is the issue.

SueDonim Fri 13-Nov-20 12:28:05

Schools should stay open unless the science shows that they are responsible for the spread of Covid in the wider community.

Parsley3 Fri 13-Nov-20 12:33:06

Keep schools open and have testing available to be used appropriately.

Franbern Fri 13-Nov-20 12:56:35

Schools, Colleges and Unis need to be kept open. We must not sacrifice, any further, our younger people/
Learning is so much more than the facts and figures that are done on line. These youngsters need to have each others company, etc.
Anyway, not sure how long people want these place to close. If just for, say, this term then it will all happen again when they start again next term. Until the virus is diminishing or getting under control, - and this could take a further two or more years. Are people actually thinking that schools, etc should be closed for that length of time? Surely not, it is just a knee-jerk reaction.
About time we all started thinking more hollistacally.

Hithere Fri 13-Nov-20 13:20:00

Go to remote learning till numbers are under control

It is extremely contagious and the more people interacting in a daily basis, the higher the risk on catching it.

As a parent, I'd rather deal with possible setbacks compared to long term effects on health or losing a family member.

tanith Fri 13-Nov-20 13:43:31

Keep them open, my poor GD year 11 is fretting so much about her GCSEs next year it’s painful to watch. She and many others in her year have missed so much already there is no way they can catch up. The online learning was problematic a lot of videos she was supposed to use wouldn’t play and it was very frustrating. I think they should cancel the exams as they have in Wales and use teachers grading it would take such a weight of her young shoulders.

Kate1949 Fri 13-Nov-20 13:45:22

What about the staff? Our daughter works in a secondary school and she says the virus is 'running riot' in the school. She and her husband both tested positive which was frightening to say the least (they are OK thankfully). One of her colleagues, a young woman, is in hospital, quite poorly with Covid.

nanaK54 Fri 13-Nov-20 13:58:24

Children missed fourteen weeks of education, not six months or even nine months as previous posters have suggested
Really wish that the proposed firebreak had happened with just one extra week on top of half-term
Who knows what the answer is, perhaps an earlier finish date before Christmas
I do firmly believe that we should follow the example set by Wales and cancel next years exams

nanaK54 Fri 13-Nov-20 14:00:17

Should have said that is fourteen weeks out of the fourteen years that children spend at school

LauraNorder Fri 13-Nov-20 14:17:47

My opinion is that is is important for our young people to go to school, not only for their education but also for their ability to socialise and for them to experience some normality.
The difficulties arise when parents work full time and rely on grandparents for after school care. Us oldies are more vulnerable.
Perhaps employers could be asked to be more flexible about start and finish times to enable parents to work around school hours. Government could help small employers with the cost of lost hours or workers without childcare commitments could develop a flexitime relationship with parents.

Hithere Fri 13-Nov-20 14:24:39

I think we are ignoring that this is not only about the kids and education, how about the teachers, janitors, other personnel working on those schools?
Thank you kate1949 for your post.

14 weeks is a blip of time in a lifetime, 3.5 months.

mbmb Fri 13-Nov-20 14:25:12

LaraGransnet Could you please tell me who it is that has asked for gransnetters' comments.

Hithere Fri 13-Nov-20 14:26:27

Furthermore, why didn't schools prepare a plan b knowing how bad covid was earlier this year?

Lucca Fri 13-Nov-20 14:44:16

They did. They are also hampered by government guidelines, lack of funding etc.

suziewoozie Fri 13-Nov-20 14:51:56

I support schools bring kept open but think not enough care and attention has been given to staff for example - older pupils and staff wearing masks in the classroom. Last week one of the secondary schools in my town ( relatively low infection area) had to close to all but key worker/ vulnerable children because there were so many cases of COVID. I also think the government needs to seriously consider what to do about the exams - some children are missing school more than once because of COVID related issues and it’s hard to see how there’ll be a level playing field for exams. Especially given the disparity between many state schools and private schools in online teaching provision.

52bright Fri 13-Nov-20 14:52:51

If we are serious about containing the virus I think that Secondary schools need to shut down. Two of my relatives teach. One is secondary school and the other primary. The primary school teacher has a bubble with one class. None of the children in her class mix with other children in school. They play and eat lunch only with their own class, so fairly contained. Their teacher only mixes with the 30 children in her own class.

The other relative teaches in secondary. They have year group bubbles of 180 or more. They are all in different sets for different subjects so, even though some of this has been modified a little, they are mixing on much bigger groups. They have several teachers, all with different families so again far more mixing. My relative sees at least 150 pupils a day, then sees another 150 the next day, so the potential for passing the virus on is limitless.

If we are considering the economy, closing secondary does not have as much impact as closing primary because their is not the same level of childcare needed.

If we are considering exams, this year is already a lost cause. Different pupils are constantly having to isolate at different times for 14 days because they have come into contact with pupils with covid. Yes they are given work to do at home but this is not the same as having their teacher. They come back in and need to recap and another lot goes off.

52bright Fri 13-Nov-20 14:55:26

Good point mbmb, who has asked for gransnet comments?