Johnson follows Wales’s lead and decides to close schools at last. Is THIS the real reason?

Exams: it seems they’re not going to happen this year as schools are closing for the duration of the coronavirus crisis.

It took me a while to work it out, but the reason Boris Johnson dragged his heels on school closures should be obvious.

It was a double-edged sword hanging over his head – or so it seems to me, in metaphorical terms.

Yes: children are brilliant at spreading disease. I remember a trip to Lyme Regis, back when I was at junior school; one girl on the coach had chicken pox and was found to have it very soon – but by the end of the week we all had it and one of the teachers spent the following term extremely ill with it.

But send all the children home from school and it means their parents can’t go to work; somebody has to supervise the kids. This is certain to be disastrous for the economy.

And we all know how important it is to Boris Johnson to be seen to be making money.

But the simple fact is that schools were failing to function in any case. Parents were seeing their children showing symptoms and taking the responsible decision to self-isolate – so classrooms were already starting to empty.

I know this because I know a few teachers.

Then the Welsh government made the decision that it was “bringing forward the Easter break“. I understand Scotland went the same way.

That seems to have tipped Johnson’s hand, possibly because appearances are important.

Suppose coronavirus infections – or even deaths – turned out to be much lower in those countries than in England? Johnson would have been shown to have made the wrong decision, and he can’t afford that.

And what will be worst for the economy in the long term – leaving schools open and infecting everybody, or closing them for a short while and then getting everyone back to work after the worst of the pandemic is over?

So all UK schools are closing.

I understand that schools will continue to look after children of “key workers” such as people working in the NHS, and children who would otherwise be staying with people who are considered “vulnerable” to the virus.

At the moment, that seems a sound choice.

But it is deeply disturbing that, again, Boris Johnson’s government had to be pushed into making the right decision.

On his own, it seems he could be worse than useless…

He could be fatal.

Source: Coronavirus: UK schools, colleges and nurseries to close from Friday – BBC News

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No Comments

  1. Florence March 18, 2020 at 11:28 pm - Reply

    It’s a bit late for Johnson to consider how it might reflect on his competence. He’s already exposed as a fraud, incompetent, and far worse with the absence of testing and contact tracing. Lets hope it is not too late now to get this under control. Just because it’s been botched up to now doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try and save as many lives as possible now.

  2. Stu March 18, 2020 at 11:39 pm - Reply

    I think the Scots, Welsh and Irish forced his hand sooner than he wanted.
    Now he’s calling to retired NHS staff to “pitch in” after many left in disgust at what the Tories did to the service over the years.

    They created a hostile environment for foreign nurses, pulled the bursary and saddled new nurses with a £40k debt, shed staff to skeletal levels, privatised huge chunks and without a word of apology, tries to “guilt” them back into the service.

    As an ex-nurse, even if I was fit enough I wouldn’t return even at inflated agency rates.

  3. trev March 19, 2020 at 6:57 am - Reply

    Yes, I saw that straight away, if the kids are off school someone has to stay home to look after them. The additional factor (seeing as I work at a foodbank) is that kids that normally get free school meals now need feeding at home, putting extra strain on foodbanks, normally a thing we have to deal with in the summer holidays with our ‘Feeding Families’ campaign.

    When I was a young kid in the 60s childhood diseases were prevalent , measles, German measles, chicken pox, mumps, along with nits and impetigo….my elder sister born in the 40s once had Scarlet Fever! No such thing as hand sanitizer.

  4. kateuk March 19, 2020 at 6:21 pm - Reply

    I have a friend who is a school caretaker. He said that classes that should have about 30 kids in them had about 18-20, the rest were “self isolating” (or just being kept at home because parents are worried). So it was disrupting the school year anyway.

  5. wandererwrites March 21, 2020 at 9:31 pm - Reply

    Johnson has been on the back-foot ever since the start of this crisis, bumbling his way through. in a ham-fisted fashion. If he had looked even remotely like a leader, in control and someone to be trusted then the general population would have been far less likely to be stripping supermarket shelves of everything they can carry. If you can’t trust your leaders you take things into your own hands. All along the way he has been a follower not a leader.

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