We understand a number of parents will be refusing to send their children back on the 8th of March, in response to the imminent full re-opening, so we are publishing this letter to a head teacher from one of our supporters, with names withdrawn. Whilst we as a group do not encourage law breaking, and decisions to not send children to school will be made under each individual’s responsibility, we want to raise awareness about what is happening. We strongly support a relaxation of mandatory attendance policies during the pandemic, which would be in the interest of pandemic control as well as mental and physical health of entire families.
Dear Miss ….,
I write to you both in both sadness and anger. Yet again, our children and teaching staff are being used like canaries in a coal mine in plans to fully reopen all schools on 8th March.
I stand with the nine unions – the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), GMB, National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT), NASUWT, National Education Union (NEU), National Governance Association (NGA), Sixth Form Colleges Association (SFCA), Unison, and Unite, who have all urged caution and a staggered approach when reopening the schools. Forcing 10 million school pupils and staff back in on the same day smacks of throwing caution to the wind.
Boris Johnson’s ominously named ‘Big Bang’ reopening, according the Government’s own SAGE scientists will:
•push R rate above 1;
•grow the R rate 10-50%;
•likely cause the third wave.
After over a year they have learnt nothing. No extra safety measures are in place at all in primary schools. The DofE recognise that COVID-19 is ‘airborne’ and that covid is spread via ‘aerosol transmission.’ Where are the mitigations? Keeping windows and doors open and a flimsy mask (in secondary schools only) seems unlikely to cut it, especially with the now dominant B117 strain which is up to 70 % more transmissible than the previous variant.
Needless to say, …. and …. will not be in school on March 8th. I would appreciate our working together in providing an education for them. In any case, I will continue to send daily updates of the work which the children are doing via email.
Children get Covid. Children transmit Covid. Children get seriously ill from covid. Children die from covid.
Why is NOTHING being done to protect them? What happened to the precautionary principle?
We know virtually nothing about Long Covid. However, according to ONS data – 13% or 1 in 8 primary school aged children, who test positive for covid, get symptoms after 5 weeks (this is 15% or 1 in 7 in secondary aged children.) And we are not talking run of the mill minor ailments. We are talking about breathing difficulties, paralysis, organ damage, seizures. Please see https://www.longcovidkids.org/ for more details
Why would I put …. and … in a room with 32 other bodies, unmeasured levels of ventilation, no masks and no social distancing when they can learn safely at home? The great irony is that educational welfare are on to me. That I have been threatened with fines, prosecution and unlawful off-rolling for protecting my children during a pandemic is beyond the pale.
Would justice be served if I ended up in jail for three months? How would that help any of our mental health? That covid ‘will be with us for a long time’ is no argument for not making schools safe. All the more reason to do so.
That the school and local authority are ‘following government guidelines’ is of no consequence when the guidelines are not worth the paper they are written on. I can not believe that, “catch it, kill it, bin it’ is still being cited as a means of infection control. Another meaningless three point slogan. It would be funny if it weren’t so tragic.
No wonder we have the highest death toll in the world.
I am truly sorry that you are having to deal with this. It isn’t fair on Head Teachers. Schools need funding and creative solutions to make them safer for all. A full, comprehensive plan has been set out by The Independent Sage. But alas it seems there’s nothing left in the pot after 22 BILLION burned on a Serco Track and Trace ‘not fit for purpose’ (Sir David King, The Independent Sage.)
Please consider the emails I sent you in December, outlining why …. and ….. should have their absences authorised. In short, I have an underlying health condition; …. has special educational needs and my mum is clinically vulnerable. Here is a link for your convenience:
I will follow the situation closely and reassess their in-person attendance after Easter.
Finally let me stress, I want … and … in school. They want to be in school. But it has to be safe. The sooner the Government follows the science and the rest of the civilised world the better.
Mass death and chronic illness should never be normalised.
Thank you very much in advance.
Name and Surname withheld