Infectious diseases

Poll reveals half of parents unconvinced that school is safe for their children’s return | Education

Parents are divided over the prospect of sending their children back to school, a new poll has revealed, as parent groups warned that mixed messages and poor communication had caused widespread anxiety about returning. With school leaders still grappling with the practicalities of reopening primary schools for some year groups in just a week’s time in England, an Opinium poll for the Observer found that 43 per cent of primary school parents and 54 per cent of secondary school parents…

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English schools reopening: which councils will meet 1 June deadline? | Education

No change: councils where no maintained schools are likely to meet the 1 June deadline • Sunderland city council said there was “no rush” to open up schools further on 1 June given the relatively local high rate of Covid-19 infections. The council leader, Graeme Millar, said: “Our stance is clear, we cannot expect teachers – or children – to be in a school environment in Sunderland unless they know that it is safe for them, and there are serious…

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Scientists warn 1 June is too early for schools to reopen in England | Education

A group of senior scientists has warned that 1 June is too soon for schools to reopen safely in England and that more time is needed to set up an effective track and trace system to contain future outbreaks. The Independent Sage committee, which is separate from the government’s official advisers and is chaired by the former government chief scientist Sir David King, says new modelling of coronavirus shows the risk to children will be halved if they return to…

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Lockdown from a teenager’s perspective | Letter | Education

When I heard schools were going to close, I was like every other 15-year-old: excited. Thinking home schooling would be great. What could be better than not having to get up at the crack of dawn or rushing to get out of the house? For the first few weeks it was brilliant, until the novelty started to wear off. The pandemic has made me realise how much students take teachers for granted. Now, if I’m stuck on a piece of…

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When will UK schools reopen – and how will they keep children safe? | Education

In just over a fortnight, the first pupils in England should start returning to school for the first time since 20 March. But a lot remains unclear. Who will be be returning first and when? According to a plan for English schools unveiled by Boris Johnson, from 1 June primary schools will bring back reception, year one and year six classes, as well as nursery children, if they have them. Also, nurseries and other early years providers would open. In…

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Teaching unions vow to work towards reopening English schools | Education

Teaching unions say they are willing to work with the government to begin reopening schools in England as long as it can be done safely, amid concerns about a renewed coronavirus outbreak. The debate over Boris Johnson’s decision to return some primary pupils to classrooms on 1 June has grown increasingly acrimonious after the British Medical Association (BMA) backed teaching unions who said the government was moving too quickly. Pressure on the unions increased after the children’s commissioner for England…

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Since when did teacher-shaming become Britain’s national sport? | Shami Chakrabarti | Opinion

Ever since Boris Johnson announced that he wanted England’s schools to reopen at the start of June – just over two weeks away – the government has been on a collision course with teachers. In deciding to bring back reception and year 1 children first, aged just four to six years, he has chosen the group of pupils who will find social distancing most difficult. Of course, after seven weeks of lockdown, it’s understandable that Britain needs a roadmap to…

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Schools in England should not reopen before September, unions warn | Education

Schools in England should not reopen before September and the government must not force parents to send children back if they object, two leading unions have warned the education secretary. As the prime minister prepares to outline plans for an easing of the Covid-19 lockdown, speculation has mounted that schools will reopen from as early as 1 June, first to 10- and 11-year-olds in year six, followed by other primary year groups and then for those mid-GCSE and on A-level…

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European schools get ready to reopen despite concern about pupils spreading Covid-19 | World news

More countries across Europe are preparing to reopen schools in the coming weeks despite conflicting advice from scientifist, some of whom caution against underestimating children’s potential to spread the coronavirus. Some schools and nurseries in Denmark and Norway have already reopened, and grandparents in Switzerland are allowed to hug grandchildren under 10, following a ruling by the health ministry’s head of infectious diseases that it is safe to do so. France’s president, Emmanuel Macron, has gone against the advice of…

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Students ‘should get a year’s refund due to Covid-19 crisis’ | Universities

Students whose courses have been thrown into chaos by the coronavirus pandemic should be reimbursed for the year or allowed to retake it at no further cost, according to the National Union of Students. NUS president Zamzam Ibrahim said students were in danger of being overlooked and forgotten in the crisis, and she called on the government to set up a £60m student hardship fund to help support those who are struggling financially. The Covid-19 crisis has caused havoc in…

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Students try to flee UK by chartered plane for ‘safer’ China | Education

A group of Chinese students who tried to charter a plane home are among thousands attempting to leave the UK because they believe they will be safer in China, universities say. With many international students left behind on deserted campuses – now mostly running a skeleton service – academics have been pitching in to call students and reassure them they aren’t alone. But universities report that Chinese students, who make up a third of non-European international students in the UK,…

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Schools asked to donate science goggles for NHS to use as face shields | Education

Schools across England are being asked to donate science goggles and other apparatus to the NHS due to a shortage of protective equipment for doctors dealing with the coronavirus outbreak. The Guardian has heard from a number of schools and teachers who are responding to urgent messages from NHS trusts that need face shields as they deal with a growing number of cases. NHS England and the government have made a major effort since the weekend to address concerns about…

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‘I’m full of dread’: Doctors, nurses and cleaners on risking their lives for their job | World news

The accident and emergency doctor Gus Khan, Greater LondonI have been treating coronavirus patients for the past month. A few weeks ago, when we were seeing the odd patient who had come back from China or Italy, we were being very cautious. We put on aprons and gowns and took all the right precautions. Then all of a sudden that stopped. We have been given flimsy aprons and were told surgical masks were OK rather than the N95 masks we…

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Teachers: how has the first day of school general closures gone? | Education

Only the children of those considered key workers by the British government are now attending schools after general closures began on Monday because of the coronavirus. The majority of children will remain at home after the UK became the latest country to close its schools for the foreseeable future, with all exams cancelled, in the first countrywide school shutdown in modern British history. But children still need to be educated, entertained and reassured. Share your experiences Are you a teacher…

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Covid-19 reveals the alarming truth that many children can’t wash their hands at school | Laura McInerney | Education

Global crises often bring surprises for schools. The first world war flagged up the high number of young soldiers who couldn’t read or write. In the second world war, middle-class country families despaired when evacuated children showed up malnourished and riven with lice. In the aftermath of both, politicians determined to make life better: focusing schools more on literacy and introducing daily milk and school nurses. Pandemics, like wars, temporarily change our way of life. Change happens fast. Schools may…

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Universities having to adapt fast to the coronavirus crisis | Education

UK universities are racing to ensure that the coronavirus does not prevent final-year students from completing their degrees. But experts say a sudden shift to online learning is a “huge challenge” for both institutions and students. All universities have been treating the coronavirus as a major emergency for some weeks. Last week the London School of Economics, University College London, Durham University, Manchester Metropolitan and Loughborough became the first to close down class teaching and move online. Oxford University’s term…

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