Harsh social distancing measures as schools reopen

Harsh social distancing measures as schools reopen

Harsh social distancing measures as schools reopen

Harsh social distancing measures, including temperature checks, socially-distanced desks and staggered drop off and pick up times are among the steps schools have introduced to enhance the safety of their pupils and staff as they begin to reopen amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Schools closed to most students on March 20, and some have made the decision to remain shut.

Primary schools are allowed to open from today for pupils in Reception, Year 1 and Year 6.

Pupils in Years 10 and 12 are expected to be able to have some time with their tutors from June 15 as they prepare for exams.

But, the experience will be very different from the one most children know.

Some classes have been reduced to as few as 4 pupils each, in order to ensure social distancing of at least 2m.

This has meant that many young children have been moved into unfamiliar settings.

One Primary School Teacher expressed her concern over the return to school and the measures being taken. She said:

“Young children have no concept of social distancing. 

“How are we going to manage teaching reception across a school? Is the government even aware that reception classrooms are designed entirely differently to other classrooms?

“Chucking them into a random classroom in the school with a new teacher is not reflective at all of the education they once knew.

“Our children are living through a significant historic event. Many will be anxious, worried and will feel unsafe returning to school.

“Where are the considerations for our children’s mental wellbeing?”

Polls show that only 40% of parents have considered sending their children back to school today.

Speaking to the BBC last week, former National Education Union Executive and Primary School Teacher Simon Murch said it is not just a matter of whether schools are able to operate safely, but “the wider community and public health that needs to be considered”.

Primary School Teacher John Roos added that “teachers and teaching unions overwhelmingly feel that the pace and manner in which the government is planning to reopen schools is in fact not planned, but chaotic”.

But others have argued that there are factors beyond public health which must be considered.

For example, the socio-economic impact on households where adults are unable to work because they are not considered key workers, and throughout the coronavirus crisis, their children have had to remain at home.

In the same BBC report, one mother stated that her inability to work while her children were at home was not only costing her more because of the increased food budget, but was beginning to threaten her ability to pay other bills.

Have you sent your children back today? How do you feel about social distancing measures in schools?

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