Parents of children due to return to school in June are already over-reacting to the decision thanks to the media’s incessant scaremongering. Now they will be paralysed with fear as Teachers' Unions use the crisis to score cheap political points against the government.
We’ve all seen endless facebook posts from Karen and Tracey ranting about the government’s decision to send years 1 & 2 back to school in June. But Karen and Tracey, in all credit to them, have not only become experts in all things Covid-19, but are helpfully sharing their new found expertise with anyone who’ll listen. And they know that the deadly virus lurks under every desk and will leap out at their precious little cherubs, attaching itself to their face like that thing from the Alien movies, and they'll be killed to death before morning break.
Now, the teacher’s union, ever ones to seize on an opportunity to bash the Tories, have seen this as a golden opportunity for more covert government attacks. Kevin Courtney, co-leader of the UK's biggest teaching union, the National Education Union (NEU) (a major contributor to the Labour Party) told the BBC; meeting with Government scientific advisers on Friday was a "step forward" but that more cooperation was needed between the government and unions to "find a safe way back". The NEU has drawn up five tests which, it says, the government should meet before schools reopen. These include regular testing, protection for vulnerable staff and a national plan for social distancing. Mr Courtney called on the government to set up a task force with unions to plan a safe way of getting children back to school.
The BBC, ever eager to support socialist ideas and pretend it’s news, have wheeled out endless teachers to bolster this argument. They report Teachers have said they are ‘worried about the emotional distress returning to the classroom could have on staff and pupils.’ One Teacher Becky, who has asked her surname not be used, teaches Reception and Year 1 at a primary school in Birmingham summed it up with a typical comment. Speaking about the effect new rules will have on children, she said: "They won't be able to play with toys, play with their friends. When they're distressed and upset, how can we comfort them from a distance? It will cause them damage." This, of course, will set Karen and Tracey off on another Facebook rant with neither the Teachers, nor the parents they’re scaring, caring about the facts.
The data overwhelmingly shows that schools are not major vectors for the virus, study after study has show that school closures have little or no effect. The biggest study, from Australia published this week, shows overwhelmingly that schools are not virus hotspots, or worsen the spread. Couple this with the fact that for children who contract the virus, it is a very mild illness with many not even noticing they have the it. In extremely rare cases the virus has caused an overreaction of the immune system, this is in a handful of children and is so rare that it doesn’t even show as a blip in the data. The R-number (the infection rate) is also below 1, meaning the virus is not spreading, and therefore, technically we are not even in a pandemic any longer.
We should no more be listening to Teachers trying to attack the government for political ends than we should Facebook harridans Karen and Tracey then perhaps we can start to rebuild the country.