It has change into more and more clear to me, as a father or mother of an 11-year-old and a 16-year-old in state college schooling in London, that some faculties are in all probability going to shut for the entire of January and presumably up till February half-term. The truth that the federal government has been neither discussing or admitting this as a powerful risk is an extra show of weak management that shies away from greedy the Covid nettle.
Nevertheless, there may be an pressing want for correct distant, teacher-led on-line studying to be put in place. The truth that the federal government left state college dad and mom to house college was a nationwide shame. As was the truth that it was by no means absolutely challenged by the mainstream media. We accepted parent-led house education like a nation of lemmings. We can not return to that. Lecturers ought to lead instructing, not dad and mom.
Availability of, and entry to, know-how is held up as a legit excuse. It isn’t. Completely different 12 months teams could be taught at totally different occasions to permit for multi-year-group households. Tech can – and has – been provided to kids who want it, and in excessive circumstances kids with out entry to on-line studying needs to be handled the identical as these with particular academic wants or key employee dad and mom and be taught at school. It is a big precedence and must be tackled urgently for the sake of the financial system and school-aged kids within the UK. But the federal government has been silent.
Lecturers additionally have to be given the identical precedence for vaccination as frontline well being employees. If lecturers are uncovered to Covid they should isolate, which has a major affect on the flexibility of faculties to stay open, and folks shouldn’t be put at vital day by day and elevated threat for doing their job.
• Your article (What do we know about the two new Covid-19 variants in the UK?, 23 December) says that the UK variant was found throughout an investigation into why Covid circumstances continued to rise in Kent throughout the November lockdown. It follows that not even instantly extending tier four to the entire nation would halt the rise in circumstances, until we modify our behaviour. Realizing in regards to the new variant, maybe we will likely be extra frightened and prudent now than the folks of Kent in November. One key safety measure appears apparent: faculties and universities should stay closed in January, as within the first lockdown. Whereas faculties and universities stay open, many individuals should be asking themselves: if younger folks can combine, is the virus actually so harmful? Closing faculties wouldn’t solely scale back college infections however might persuade us to be extra prudent. I anticipate Boris Johnson, as ever reactive relatively than proactive, to announce this the day earlier than the brand new time period begins.
• Shouldn’t each scholar who’s sufficiently old to be given work from their college to do on-line throughout lockdown have a laptop computer? Why has the federal government not offered them for each youngster whose dad and mom can not afford it? Failing that, why is there not a charity to organise this? It might not be that costly and the helpful return could be monumental. Not solely would it not give a way of solidarity that each British scholar has an opportunity to maximise their schooling and are at an essential degree equal, but in addition it is going to stop harmful behaviour down the road from an underclass of people that have missed out throughout the Covid pandemic from having the ability to keep their schooling. Is that this not pressing and fully doable?
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