Your MP ( add your council director of children’s services too if you have their email address, and the local Director of Public Health)
Copy to any other stakeholders you wish.
Subject line: Children are second class citizens – #masklikeakid
I am horrified to hear that once again masks have been mandated in secondary school classrooms- presumably following agitation by the teaching unions. As a parent, I am beginning to fear that our children are never going to have their lives and education fully restored, and restrictions will continue indefinitely. Is this going to be in place every winter? If not, why not?
This decision seems to be blatantly political- once again to the detriment of our children who are continually treated as second class citizens and the soft targets for a ‘visible’ response. I also notice that the new ruling only applies to children in schools, and not to adults-which is completely inappropriate. The suggestion from Nadhim Zahawi that masks will keep schools open is absurd. Mask mandates will not reduce the risk of school closures, in fact by increasing a climate of fear, they may lead to further disruption.
• Adults have all now been offered substantial protection with three doses of a vaccine if they so wish.
• There is extremely weak evidence of efficacy of mask wearing specifically in education settings- this was acknowledged by Will Quince, Children’s Minister during a recent Education Select Committee meeting.
• On the flipside, there is ample evidence of harms, especially to communication – the bedrock of education. For example, in November, Deputy Chief Medical Officer Jonathan Van Tam noted that “ I can see that they could be quite inhibitory to the natural expressions of learning in children…I think it’s difficult for children in schools with face masks”.
• According to I-Can, 1.5 million children can now not speak at an age-appropriate level. 1 in 6 children is thought to now have a mental health disorder.
Children in the UK have lost more schooling than any children in any other European country bar Italy. Having suffered so much, what they need more than anything is normal, stable school environment without impediments to communication and learning.
There is also blatant hypocrisy in play here. Most adults do not have to wear a mask for the durations that our children will now be mandated to do. Children have been bearing the burden of restrictions throughout the pandemic, and it is high time that politicians, officials and policy makers show empathy with our young people.
Nadhim Zahawi should reverse this unnecessary and disproportionate impediment to our children’s education and show some leadership.
However, until this mandate is revoked, I call on you to pledge to #masklikeakid – 8 hours per day, 5 days a week with just a short break to eat lunch in solidarity with our children. Please confirm that you will take part in this pledge until our children are no longer required to endure this restriction on their vital learning and communication.
I look forward to your early response confirming your participation.