Keep schools in England shut - Keep us safe from COVID-19

Keep schools in England shut - Keep us safe from COVID-19

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Madeleine Bowis started this petition to Gavin Williamson (Secretary of state of Educat)

The government maintains that schools in England are ‘safe’ and plan to stagger pupils’ return after the Christmas break.  Pupils taking exams in 2021 will now start on the 11th of January with other years following on the 18th, and Primary schools to return on the 4thof January except in COVID hot spots. I, along with many of my fellow students, believe this is unfair on students, teachers and their families that this decision will unnecessarily increase the number of people affected by COVID-19 resulting in further pressure on the NHS at this critical time.

The government appears to be ignoring the experts on this.  The scientific advisory group (SAGE) has stated that “The R rate in England was highly unlikely to stay below 1 if schools remained open as they did In November” However, Gavin Williamson (Secretary of state for education) still maintains that schools are safe enough to return to.

According to SAGE advisor Professor Mark Walport “It is transmitted more readily in younger age groups as well. It is going to be very difficult to keep it under control without much tighter social restrictions”. Moreover, we know that a person between 12 and 16 is seven times more likely than others in a household to bring the infection into a household”.

Keeping our distance is even more important now than it was before Christmas since we know that the new variant spreads more easily and quickly, so why are we not sticking to remote learning?   Teaching unions appear to agree.  The NASUWT general secretary Dr Patrick Roach wrote in a letter that it is “The only sensible and credible option at this time to minimise the risks to those working in schools and to safeguard public health”.

As a year 11 student I realise the difficulty of the decision to close schools, and the possible impact on my education.  However, we the undersigned ask that the government reverse the decision to open schools in England (for all but vulnerable children and those of key workers) until the experts from SAGE agree that the opening of schools will not negatively impact the R rate of COVID-19 and hence further put at risk the health of the nation.   

Please support this petition. Thank you

 

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