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It is instructive to see the response to the positive COVID test from Billy Gilmour, which confirms that for the UK government, elite football is vastly more important than our children’s education.
According to the rules and based on the experience and data of the last 12 months if a single child were to test positive for coronavirus at school, approximately 30 children would be sent home and forced into isolation for 10 days. This could occur over, and over again.
In football terms, applying the same ‘contact’ rules to the Euro 2020 tournament, would mean the entire Scotland dressing room, managers, coaches and most of the England team being isolated and unable to play. However, as we know, this is not happening.
On GMB this morning, Matt Hancock said we have special rules for elite football because it ‘brings people joy’. Just as we had special rules for G7 gatherings, Ascot, and Michael Gove’s qualification for a brand new pilot scheme that exempted him from quarantine. There seem to be quite a few ‘special rules’ that benefit government ministers and celebrities but sadly none apply to keeping children in school. As a parent, what brings me joy, is seeing my children happy, healthy and thriving – in school.
I think it’s very clear where the government’s priorities lie, and it’s not with children.
An FOI in November revealed that the Department for Education is not tracking what ultimately happens to the 30 or so children who are isolated along with the original positive case( how many go on to test positive themselves during the isolation period)- so we do not even know if this policy of mass isolation of healthy children is effective at mitigating viral transmission, or whether it is proportionate.
This unfair, damaging policy needs to be urgently reviewed particularly in the context of the fact that more than 80% of adults now have COVID antibodies. How much longer are we going to destroy children’s educational prospects? Where is the roadmap for stabilising children’s learning? There is none because it is not a priority.
It was reported this week that 5-year-olds are now having panic attacks about playdates. This catastrophic outcome should have been a surprise to no one. Children have been living on a knife-edge for the last year, demonised as granny killers, and isolated during their crucial years of social and educational development.
This must stop.
Please ask the Secretary of State for Education, Secretary of State for Health, and the Prime Minister to halt this damaging mass isolation policy so that children can normalise and begin to recover from this experience.