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Anger mounts over UK government's decision to keep schools open

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Anger mounts over UK government's decision to keep schools open

By Estelle Shirbon, Elizabeth Howcroft

 

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Protesters from organization "Pause the System" wearing hazmat suits demonstrate against government's response to the coronavirus crisis, outside Downing Street in London, Britain March 16, 2020. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls

 

LONDON (Reuters) - British Prime Minister Boris Johnson faced a backlash on Monday over his decision to keep schools open, with angry parents keeping their children at home and complaining that other countries were doing more to stop the spread of coronavirus.

 

Britain has reported 1,372 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 35 deaths, fewer than in Italy, Spain and France, where schools have been shut, though the British numbers are expected to rise.

 

Johnson’s spokesman said the scientific advice was that school closures were not a step the government should be taking at this time, but a growing number of parents are refusing to send their children to school.

 

In Doncaster in northern England, Suzana Ilieva has kept her six-year-old son at home since Friday, out of fear that he could transmit the virus to an elderly relative who lives with her family.

 

“I think the government is irresponsible and for the sake of protecting the economy is damaging people’s lives,” she said. “I made my own decision with my husband.”

 

In Anglesey in north Wales, Helen Wright was at home with her 10-year-old son and had asked his school to send her a home education pack.

 

“I do not trust government guidelines or the government over their handling of the matter,” she said.

 

Several teachers who spoke to Reuters reported that a larger than usual number of children were absent on Monday. They did not wish to be quoted, saying that managers had asked staff not to talk to media.

 

The tags #Covid19Walkout and #CloseTheSchoolsNow were both trending on Twitter in Britain. Pupils were posting photos of densely packed school corridors and staircases, saying it was impossible to follow guidelines on social distancing.

 

“@BorisJohnson it’s time to act!” a user called Charlotte said in one of many tweets directed at the prime minister. “We need you to take action to SAVE LIVES! Why are we the only country not doing anything? This is so frustrating.”

 

PETITION

 

On parliament’s website, a petition calling on the government to shut schools and colleges had attracted more than 590,000 signatures, and numbers were rising fast. Any petition on the website that gets more than 100,000 signatures must be considered for a parliamentary debate.

 

In Northern Ireland, a part of the United Kingdom that shares a land border with the Republic of Ireland, a mother whose daughter suffers from underlying health problems launched an emergency legal challenge against the government’s stance.

 

The education ministry said on Monday morning that the official guidance had not changed.

 

“Our advice to schools is to remain open unless otherwise advised by Public Health England,” a spokeswoman for the ministry said.

 

Some schools have already closed due to a member of staff or a pupil or a relative showing symptoms of the coronavirus, but the spokeswoman declined to say how many.

 

“It’s a dynamic situation. We’re not going to get into a numbers game. Some schools are opening, closing, opening again,” she said.

 

The education minister, Gavin Williamson, will meet school representatives later on Monday and information will be given to the public after that meeting, the spokeswoman said.

 

Some parents said pulling their children out of school was a difficult choice.

 

“I’m very much on the cusp, the key balance to strike being the likelihood that my kids could get and spread it (two of them are asthmatic) against the likelihood they could fall behind their peers educationally,” said father Gary Mark Fuller on Twitter.

 

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-- © Copyright Reuters 2020-03-16
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UK is not alone in doing this.

 

As far as I know also Sweden has concluded to keep schools and kindergartens open.

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If they only left schools open.... On Sunday they had a mini marathon with over 6000 participants. https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-bristol-51893095

 

And a concert by Sterephonics... which did caught the eye of the Chinese... http://shanghaiist.com/2020/03/17/chinese-netizens-rendered-speechless-by-crowded-stereophonics-concert-in-uk/

 

I think it's time to ban all the flights from UK, cancel visa exemptions, and all the issued visas. Not just by Thailand. Ignorance is bliss. Until it isn't.

 

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And as soon as a child is tested positive, all schools will be closed. Who will be the clown then.

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13 hours ago, snoop1130 said:

In Anglesey in north Wales, Helen Wright was at home with her 10-year-old son and had asked his school to send her a home education pack.

Been teaching 30 years now, never seen one of them. 
 

It’s all about online teaching and live streaming. 

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These parents need to have a word with themselves and consider their patriotic responsibilities.

 

The British Government is attempting to battle this virus by creating natural herd immunity, this requires large numbers of people to become infected.

 

Where’s the ‘we are all in this together’ spirit?

 

 

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14 minutes ago, Sujo said:

While everyone is banning mass gatherings or warning against gatherings it seems incredibly stupid to keep schools open.

 

The economy is more precious than the children.

not in the eyes of those in power..

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5 minutes ago, superal said:

Sorry pal but I disagree . For one if I had children in a UK school I would keep them at home . There is zero proof of immunity from this virus , not my words but those on micro biologists .  Patriotic spirit is one thing but being led by a controversial team is another , remember " The king has got no clothes on " 

I don’t disagree.

 

But nevertheless the British government are attempting to fight this virus by natural  immunity and that does require (assuming post infection immunity can be created) large numbers of people to become infected.

 

That is what the government are attempting to do, Citizens, including children are their test subjects in this experiment.

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I am no fan of the current govt and have great reservations about how they are handling this, however, there are some very tough decisions being made and the ‘science’ they have to rely on paints a very grim picture.

 

For those looking for a long read there is a link below to the Imperial College’s latest impact assessment which has a bleak summary at the bottom of the first page.


https://www.imperial.ac.uk/media/imperial-college/medicine/sph/ide/gida-fellowships/Imperial-College-COVID19-NPI-modelling-16-03-2020.pdf


Bottom line is that suppression seems to be working in the short term in some places but will society be able to handle it for possibly in excess of 18 months.

 

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I’m kinda sympathetic to the argument of leaving schools open. For the time being it’s the preferred position of Australian state governments. The thinking is if you keep kids at school then you free up parents - many of whom will work in essential services - to keep doing their jobs at an important time. 

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