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To think that govt guidance on schools/face coverings is outdated and illogical?(2 Posts)
Taken from the government’s covid guidance for schools:
“ Wearing a face covering or face mask in schools or other education settings is not recommended. Face coverings may be beneficial for short periods indoors where there is a risk of close social contact with people you do not usually meet and where social distancing and other measures cannot be maintained, for example on public transport or in some shops. This does not apply to schools or other education settings. Schools and other education or childcare settings should therefore not require staff, children and learners to wear face coverings. Changing habits, cleaning and hygiene are effective measures in controlling the spread of the virus.”
“ The majority of staff in education settings will not require PPE...even if they are not always able to maintain a distance of 2 metres from others.”
This advice looks like it’s taken straight out of the government’s influenza planning handbook (pre- Mid March) and we all know how that worked out. Wash your hands and all will be fine.
- What does the fact that these are people you ‘usually meet’ got to do with anything? People can still spread the virus to non-strangers...
- How do we reconcile this advice with the crucial role of presymptomatic spread of the virus? Normal conversation can emit virus particles that linger indoors air for up to 10 mins. The louder and more vociferous the exhalation, the more is emitted. How can masks NOT be helpful in this kind of indoor setting?
- How can the guidance justify ‘no masks’ while acknowledging that the 2 metre rule can’t always be adhered to?
Something has to give. You cannot refuse to permit masks (for students and/or teachers) and also acknowledge that 2 metre will be breached. Even worse, cutting it to 1m while still refusing to allow masks.
Teaching and learning rely on communication (which is why so many are finding isolated home learning to be a disaster) and masks inhibit that process by muffling sound, and inhibiting non-verbal cues.
They are another thing to fidget with and distract. They mark out children with additional needs that can't wear them (asthma, sensory processing, hearing impairment, ADHD etc) you'd probably have a third of the class with a legitimate reason to not wear one.
You can't teach effectively with social distancing. You need to read work, get down to face level, talk quietly to individuals.
The reality is that to get all children back into their classrooms, you can't social distance within the class, and PPE hinders communication. Fortunately children seem to largely hold off the virus with few symptomatic spreaders who are the highest risk for spreading to others.
I think it needs to be accepted that whole classes go back without social distancing or PPE. Trying to maintain class size bubbles and temporarily suspending mixed cohorts such as assembly or setting would work better in primaries than secondaries. With secondaries, to maintain specialist teaching of a board curriculum, there is very little capacity to compromise.
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