By Tatiana Zaituni
The past week, Prime Minister Boris Johnson, alongside the government, has been urging parents to send their children back into school full time when institutions across the country reopen this September.
It is once again mandatory for children to return to school for this starting academic year, unless they have come in close contact or developed symptoms of and tested positive for COVID-19.
But will they be safe?
A number of children from various schools across Kirklees returned back in June. Whilst this was required – many did not due to the parental choice or other factors.
However, the now government mandated urgency for the reopening of schools was somewhat unexpected to many.
Barring a review later today, Kirklees council is currently under lockdown, and the virus still circulating. Despite this, the government going forward with its policy and is simply encouraging parents and students to be familiarised with the new guidelines.
Guidelines which, to many, seem unclear, and are even still being debated.
Much of the uncertainty seem to stem from the fact that each school will have its own policies regarding the COVID-19 guidelines.
Use of public transport is also a concern for many, as most commuters will already be aware of how busy buses can get during term time.
The government says it has set out a system for public transport, which includes dedicated services, in order to get children to and from school.
However, many schools and colleges already have bus services in place, and it is also important to consider things such as the grouping of passengers, whether or not hand sanitiser will be provided, and the use of face coverings, among others.
During School Hours
In Addition, the government has also set out a mandatory system of controls for schools and said these four requirements must be followed in all schools, all the time.
- If a pupil or family member shows symptoms of COVID-19, the pupil must be taken out of school and the whole family must self-isolate.
- Mandatory frequent hand washing must be enforced.
- Promotion of good hygiene around the use of tissues for sneezes and coughs.
- Introduce enhanced hygienic procedure – installation of hand sanitiser stations etc.
Parents Thoughts on the Policies
All children were meant to return back to school before summer, but this plan failed due to the increase of the virus in some local areas around the country.
Now the Government’s urgency towards parents to send children back into schools has left many apprehensive of the decision.
On facebook and Twitter we asked you whether or not you’d feel comfortable sending your children back to school with Kirklees in its current state.
One local resident said on Facebook: “I wouldn’t feel safe sending my son to school.
“Kirklees is supposed to be on lockdown again! He can’t visit a relative in a garden but can go to school?”
On Twitter, another local resident, from Bradley, said: “The frustrating thing about it is that the rules are just never clear.
“They’re saying that the kids have to wear masks in ‘communal areas’, but surely the whole school is one big communal area!
“I wouldn’t feel safe sending my kids back, I feel for all the parents who have to make that decision next month.”