Tag Archives: schools

Covid-19: more than 3,000 new cases for third day in a row; 726 schools infected

Rampant: the Covid-19 virus is once again on the loose across the UK because the Tories haven’t just lost control; they’ve deliberately thrown it away.

It’s safe to say that Boris Johnson’s anti-Covid strategy has collapsed.

If we see any reports of success in reversing the rise of the disease, it will be despite his government’s restrictions, not because of them.

Here’s The Independent:

There were 3,330 confirmed new cases of coronavirus, according to government data published on Sunday, compared with 3,497 a day earlier.

The overall tally has now risen to 368,504 infections.

A further five new deaths were also reported, bringing the national total to 41,628 – the highest in Europe.

Separate figures published by the UK’s statistics agencies show there have been 57,400 deaths registered in the country where Covid-19 was mentioned on the death certificate.

For the situation in schools, let’s go to the Tory Fibs Twitter account. At 10.51am on Sunday, it stated:

Less than five hours later, the total had risen again:

This is particularly concerning:

https://twitter.com/ToryFibs/status/1305155603694858240

Outbreaks in schools mean pupils have to go home, meaning parents cannot go to work but have to stay back to look after them.

The fact that the situation may change at any minute means that, in ending the full lockdown, Johnson has created more uncertainty in both the economy and education than before, and has increased the risk of infection all round.

Source: UK coronavirus cases rise by more than 3,000 for third day in a row | The Independent

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If schools are opening again, everybody should be masked EVERYWHERE – for safety

A face mask: your youngsters will probably look better in theirs than this image – kids can be very creative – so why not let them stay safe by letting them wear their masks all the time they’re at school?

Is everybody totally confused now, about Covid-19 rules when the schools open again in September?

I am.

Apparently Boris Johnson has u-turned on a previous decision and decided that, in England,

staff and pupils in secondary schools in local lockdown areas like Manchester and Birmingham will be required to wear face coverings when moving around the building and in communal areas where social distancing is difficult to maintain. Masks will not be mandated in the classroom.

Elsewhere,

masks will not be obligatory but school leaders will have the discretion to require face coverings in communal areas if they believe that is “right in their particular circumstances”.

So he’ll be able to blame head teachers if outbreaks occur.

There is only one sane choice for head teachers who are given it: Masks everywhere.

I wrote back in March, “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.”

If that happens with Covid-19, it could be fatal.

I am supported in my believe by this:

That’s an Oxford professor, expert in infections, by the way.

Finally, there’s the fact that adults are far more likely to suffer the worst effects of Covid-19 than children – and for single parents that could be disastrous:

The plan at the moment is to punish parents who believe the best protection for their children is to keep them away from school.

It doesn’t matter whether Johnson is deliberately trying to cause trouble to them or simply doesn’t have the intelligence to realise that people will be hurt because he hasn’t provided for them.

The result will be the same.

Source: Coronavirus: Boris Johnson U-turns on advice against face masks in schools | The Independent

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Labour members: why revolt over Starmer’s ‘blind eye’ for refugee rights? Does he have a SEEING eye, in that case?

Still apt: Keir Starmer reckons he was named after original Labour leader Hardie – but can anyone doubt that his illustrious forerunner might have said these words, if confronted with evidence of Starmer’s abysmal performance? [I’m astonished to discover, after using the image on another article, that I need to clarify that he didn’t.]

Don’t get me wrong; it’s great that Labour Party members are challenging Keir Starmer over something.

And his failure to voice a coherent party policy on the people coming across the channel in dinghies – because they aren’t legally allowed to demand asylum in the UK without physically being here – is indeed shameful.

It seems the sticking-point for party members is that Starmer has criticised the government for incompetence in failing to carry out its own policy to deflect refugees away from the UK, because it is not Labour’s job to support the Tories in their cruelties.

And the protesters are right to point out that international law is clear: the migrants’ right to come to the UK for asylum is protected.

But there are so many other issues on which Starmer has disgraced himself – and brought Labour into disrepute.

Where is the party’s condemnation of Israeli’s bombing attack on Gaza, that has been ongoing for, I believe, 11 days by now?

Related to that, where is his apology to all the party members Labour has been persecuting with false allegations of anti-Semitism? This is linked to the party’s attitude to Israel because Labour under Starmer seems to think that opposition to that nation’s policies is the same as hatred of Jews – a clear fallacy.

Still on an ethnic theme, isn’t the Labour leader due a kicking over his frankly racist attitude to the Black Lives Matter campaign?

Or, going back to support for the Tories, why is he getting a free pass over his demand that schools must open again in September – in line with Boris Johnson’s own comments – when it is still not clear whether this is putting our children, and ourselves, in danger?

In fact it seems all-too-easy to challenge Keir Starmer over failings in his leadership.

Has he done anything that party members can wholeheartedly support?

Source: Channel crossings: Keir Starmer faces Labour revolt over stance on refugees | The Independent

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Covid confusion: when news sources contradict each other, what do you believe?

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Look at this:

Now consider this:

Apparently chief medical officer Chris Whitty is saying, at the same time, that children returning to school will increase the likelihood of people catching Covid-19… and that it won’t.

It depends which news source you use and whether you think the UK’s chief medical officer is likely to contradict himself in such a way.

What do you believe?

And, if you’re a parent…

What do you do?

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UK could face second lockdown ‘within months’ as outbreaks occur across the nation

Closed: the indecent haste with which Boris Johnson has been rushing England out of lockdown has already created Covid-19 infection spikes in several cities, and in schools across that country.

The UK faces a second wave of Covid-19 in as little as a few weeks, according to a professor of global public health.

Devi Sridhar, who acts as the public health adviser for Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon, warned of “constant outbreaks” as lockdown restrictions ease across the country.

She tweeted: “I know that everyone wants the economy to go full steam ahead in the UK. But I fear we will be in another lockdown within months, if not weeks…

“Eliminate the virus over the summer then open up safely. Otherwise enter winter and flu season in a dangerous halfway house.”

Here’s the proof of her words:

Three new coronavirus hotspots named in list of top 10 worst-hit areastrumpeted the Mirror on July 9:

The information from Public Health England shows that the number of infections is on the rise in Blackburn, Bedford and Peterborough.

Leicester continues to have the highest number of Covid-19 infections in the UK, and Health Secretary Matt Hancock was forced to admit that this has been largely fuelled by outbreaks in schools.

So it should come as no surprise to learn that Covid-19 in schools is at its highest level in six weeks – since they were reopened at the beginning of June:

The graph, by the way, shows the number of schools affected. The number of infections is likely to be significantly higher.

So there it is.

Perhaps you don’t think there’s any reason to worry. After all, both the Tory government and the Labour opposition are keen to tell you that it’s all under control and there is no cause for worry.

As the Covid-19 unnecessary death toll in the UK inches closer to 70,000, just have a think about whether you believe that before you head off to the pub.

Source: UK could face second lockdown ‘within months’

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UK Covid deaths remain horrifying – so Tories are opening gyms, swimming pools and outdoor performances

Oliver Dowden: do you believe this face when it tells you it’s safe to go back in a swimming pool with loads of other people who’ve never had a Covid-19 test in their life?

Imagine a plane crash killed 157 people. It would be top of the day’s news. A terrorist incident killing 126 would also be the top headline.

Those were the Covid-19 death figures on Monday and Tuesday, and the media – led by the Tories – tried to make it seem like a cause for celebration!

And now, to top it all off, culture secretary Oliver Dowden has announced the latest plan to increase the death toll: reopening gyms and swimming pools!

It seems they want us all to die.

Dowden said outdoor theatres could reopen immediately, along with recreational sports. Indoor pools, gyms and sports facilities will follow.

Here are the details:

  • Outdoor pools will be able to re-open on 11 July
  • Indoor gyms, swimming pools and sports facilities will then be able to re-open from 25 July
  • Grassroots sport will be able to return from this coming weekend, beginning with cricket (other sports will follow)
  • Outdoor theatres will be able to start up from Saturday
  • Small pilots of indoor performances with socially distanced audiences will also take place to help work out the best way to get them up and running
  • From Monday 13 July, beauticians, tattooists, spas, tanning salons and other close contact services can reopen “subject to some restrictions on particularly high-risk services”

Okay, so how will we be able to avoid catching Covid from other users of these sporting facilities? Dowden said there will be “enhanced cleaning” at gyms and pools.

How the hell is that going to work?

In a place like a swimming pool, where people immerse their entire bodies – including the faces that we’ve all been told not to touch since March – what are they going to do?

And nobody will be asked to wear a face mask in a gym.

So that’s fine. If anybody asymptomatic takes Covid-19 into a gym or pool with them, everybody there is certain to catch it.

Dowden held a press conference, touching on other matters. For example:

He said he was “absolutely confident” Boris Johnson and Gavin Williamson would not have ordered parents to send children back to school unless it was safe to do so. Oh, really?

England suffered a wave of school closures after Johnson and Williamson ordered them to open too soon and outbreaks of Covid happened.

If Dowden was “absolutely confident” Johnson and Williamson’s plan was safe, this does not bode well for his reliability on gyms and swimming pools.

And in response to a question on sanctions for people who flout the rules, he said he was “tremendously heartened” by the “good British common sense” the British public had displayed.

Does he mean the common sense displayed by the public in Soho when the pubs opened on Saturday? Let’s look at a picture of them all keeping two metres away from each other:

Or we could consider what happened at Bournemouth when the sun came out?

Well.

Apparently the police have the power to disperse crowds. Clearly they didn’t exercise it on Saturday.

Perhaps they were too busy stopping and searching 12.5 per cent of London’s black population for no good reason instead…

Dowden also – implausibly – claimed that the government continues to be “informed by science” on the pace at which it is reopening the economy – but we can see that this isn’t true.

Asked about the data the government has seen since pubs and hairdressers re-opened last weekend, he said it was “all continuing to move in the right direction”.

But we won’t know whether those reopenings have led to an increase in Covid infections for another week and a half.

It all adds up to nothing less than sheer foolhardiness from a government that knows it is the people who will suffer for Tory mistakes.

You’d think Boris Johnson would have got the message after a hospital in his own constituency had to close its Accident & Emergency unit, with no fewer than 70 people going into self-isolation.

But no.

He wouldn’t get the message if it was written in fiery letters across the sky and followed him wherever he went.

He’d probably just try to convince us that God was wrong for arguing with him – and then deny it when religious leaders got angry.

Source: Coronavirus updates: Culture secretary gives update on reopening of economy in England – BBC News

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Tory u-turn on primary schools is right – shame on those who supported early return

Social distancing? If this shot was taken after primary classes returned from lockdown, do you think these kids are at least two metres apart – or the teacher and child in the background?

The Tory government has shelved its plan to fully reopen primary schools before the summer holidays after admitting it is impractical.

Schools are unable to accommodate all their pupils while classes are limited to just 15 pupils – half normal size. Where would the other half go?

It would be impossible to police all the pupils, ensuring that social distancing rules were followed. Have you ever had to spend all day reminding a five-year-old not to do something they really want to do?

And then there’s the fact that pupils simply aren’t turning up. When schools reopened 10 days ago, predictions were that only half of Reception/Year 1 and Year 6 pupils would attend, with parents keeping the rest away due to fears of Covid-19 contagion.

In fact, only half of the predicted numbers actually turned up – a quarter of the expected intake.

And still social distancing rules aren’t being followed, if the image accompanying the BBC’s report (a version of which appears above) is indicative.

Most disappointing for This Writer has been the response of the Labour Party to the school reopening plan. Instead of standing up for parents and children across the UK, Red Tory Keir Starmer supported Gavin Williamson and Boris Johnson.

No amount of backtracking by Rebecca Long-Bailey can change that.

Labour should have listened to parents, teachers, and the education unions – all of whom spent weeks warning that the plan was nonsense – but didn’t.

I like the comment by ‘Molly’ in the BBC article: “”Until it is safe for Parliament to sit next to each other and until it’s ‘safe’ to cuddle your own blood mother, then how is it deemed safe to mix your children with numerous other households?”

It is a shambles that the Tory government owns – we must not forget that.

But Labour has lost a lot of confidence by supporting it.

Source: Coronavirus: All primary pupils no longer going back to school – BBC News

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70 cases of Covid-19 after France reopened its schools but the Tories STILL protest that ours will be safe

Michael Gove, Amber Rudd and all the Tory apologists must be cringing at their comments over the weekend, with the latest news from France.

Our cousins across the Channel sent a third of their children back to school last week, with classes capped at 15 students in order to maintain social distancing and prevent Covid-19 infection.

It didn’t work:

Just one week after a third of French children went back to school in an easing of the coronavirus lockdown, there has been a worrying flare-up of about 70 Covid-19 cases linked to schools.

French education minister Jean-Michel Blanquer sounded the alarm on Monday, telling French radio RTL that the return has put some children in new danger of contamination. He said the affected schools are being closed immediately. French media reported that seven schools in northern France were closed.

Mr Blanquer did not specify if the 70 cases of Covid-19 were among students or teachers.

Given that the incubation period for the virus is several days, people are “likely” to have been infected before the reopening of schools, he said.

Last week France recorded its first death of a child linked to Kawasaki disease, a mysterious inflammatory syndrome that some doctors say could be triggered by Covid-19.

The nine-year-old boy was one of 125 children in France currently with the syndrome.

Sure, people were “likely” to have been infected before the reopening of schools – but who knows how many people in the seven that had to be closed – teachers, pupils, and parents after the kids came home – have been infected as a result of the return?

Meanwhile, in the UK, the Tories are still (desperately) trying to convince us that when they reopen our schools at the beginning of June, our children, teachers and families won’t suffer the same fate. But they’ve provided absolutely no evidence to support these claims, that seem increasingly unrealistic.

Michael Gove talked a lot of nonsense on TV:

So did Amber Rudd:

She said:

They have to go back because we need to make sure that our children go back and that all the issues to do not just with education, but also with security, safety, mental health issues, safeguarding, those children need to go back to school.

Gibberish!

In the UK, fears are rising that the government is putting teachers and parents at risk of Covid-19, and children in peril of dying from the new syndrome similar to Kawasaki disease. Considering the situation in France, these are proving justified:

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson tried to claim that

children are at the heart of everything we do

and came a cropper – because some of us have long memories:

There will be no test, track and trace system for teachers and pupils:

Instead, they will have to self-isolate, along with anybody likely to be infected – as happened at this school in Colne:

No consideration has been given to the fact that infected children will share items including food with others:

Nor, it seems, has any been given to the facts of opening schools at this time:

What will happen?

I think we’ll see a concentrated campaign by the Tories and their puppets in the press, to persuade the public that there is no harm in sending their children back to school at the start of June – and that anybody saying otherwise is a fool at best, and an enemy of the people at worst:

Will it work?

Well…

And the Tories?

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Here’s why schools should stay closed and why anyone saying otherwise may have a political agenda

School: even in exam conditions, teachers will struggle to keep pupils two metres apart.

Perhaps you think it’s not a big deal.

Ever since Boris Johnson announced that he wants schools to reopen at the beginning of June, the idea has become a raging controversy.

He didn’t say that scientists support this notion – for a very good reason, it seems:

Let’s have a look at the article, from Schoolsweek:

The Department for Education’s chief scientific adviser admitted he has not assessed whether guidance on reopening schools is effective, adding the current advice is “draft” and “will be developed”.

Appearing in front of the Parliamentary science and technology committee today, Osama Rahman also admitted the DfE had done no modelling on the impact on transmission rates of starting to reopen schools after the May half term break.

During a hearing that left some MPs visibly bemused, Rahman also suggested the government guidance issued yesterday on safety is a “draft”, and will be reissued after further consultation with Public Health England.

He also said the decision to reopen schools was made by cabinet, not the DfE.

Asked about the transmission rate among children during the hearing, Rahman said the evidence is mixed, and there’s a “low degree of confidence in evidence they might transmit it less”.

SNP education spokesperson Carol Monaghan then asked for clarification. Was it true that “we’re putting together hundreds of potential vectors that can then go and transmit. Is that correct?”

Mr Rahman’s response – “Possibly, depending on school sizes” – may have contributed to Ms Monaghan’s conclusion that, as a former teacher, she “did not think the profession will be satisfied or put at ease with what they are hearing”.

Asked what scientific evidence base underpinned the decision to reopen schools to pupils in reception, year 1 and year 6, and what modelling had been done, Mr Rahman said the Department for Education had not done any modelling at all.

He was unable to provide any proof that any scientific evidence had contributed to the decision to seek the reopening of schools at the beginning of June. He believed the Cabinet had made that decision, following advice from SAGE – albeit filtered through Education Secretary Gavin Williamson.

Rahman also admitted he had made no assessment on how effectively actions proposed by the government for schools to reopen safely can be implemented.

Perhaps it is unsurprising, given this background, that education unions united to declare that they would only support the reopening of schools “when it is safe to do so”:

The statement says:

“We all want schools to re-open, but that should only happen when it is safe to do so. The government is showing a lack of understanding about the dangers of the spread of coronavirus within schools, and outwards from schools to parents, sibling and relatives, and to the wider community.

“Uniquely, it appears, school staff will not be protected by social distancing rules. 15 children in a class, combined with their very young age, means that classrooms of 4 and 5-year olds could become sources of Covid-19 transmission and spread.  While we know that children generally have mild symptoms, we do not know enough about whether they can transmit the disease to adults. We do not think that the government should be posing this level of risk to our society.

“We call on the government to step back from the 1st June and work with us to create the conditions for a safe return to schools based on the principles and tests we have set out.”

The principles and tests include:

  • Safety and welfare of pupils and staff as the paramount principle
  • No increase in pupil numbers until full rollout of a national test and trace scheme
  • A national Covid-19 education taskforce with government, unions and education stakeholders to agree statutory guidance for safe reopening of schools
  • Consideration of the specific needs of vulnerable students and families facing economic disadvantage
  • Additional resources for enhanced school cleaning, PPE and risk assessments
  • Local autonomy to close schools where testing indicates clusters of new covid-19 cases

Doesn’t that seem reasonable? Not to Gavin Williamson!

He said: “Sometimes scaremongering and making people fear is really unfair, and not a welcome pressure that is to be placed on families, children and teachers alike.”

Amazingly, he has had support from a Labour MP – Barry Sheerman:

Fortunately, this chap faced an instant backlash:

So it seems we are being asked to believe the unions are scaremongering, despite the evidence from Mr Rahman that shows they aren’t.

What do you think?

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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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