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Shropshire Star comment: Covid infection inevitable in schools

By Shropshire Star | Opinions | Published:

It is inevitable that schools will face a brush with Covid-19.

Schools across the country reopened to children last week

With community transmission presently running at an unsatisfactorily high level, some youngsters will come from households where the virus is prevalent. They may be asymptomatic or have such a mild case that they do not realise they are spreading the disease. There are no cast iron safeguards and no sure-fire way to prevent the virus from entering schools.

Already, schools have had to send children home because of coronavirus cases or scares. There have been a small number of episodes in Shropshire and in neighbouring areas – and we can expect more in the coming days and weeks.

Though this is an unsettling time, the present circumstances are more preferable than schools and colleges being closed and youngsters being prevented from learning. The disadvantaged are disproportionately affected when schools close and it is unfair to expect a generation to miss out. The risks, low though they are, are worth taking. The costs of keeping children at home are greater than those of sending them to school.

It is essential that schools and teachers hold their nerve in these challenging times and that provision is made to safeguard any staff, parents or youngsters who might be particularly vulnerable.

There will no doubt be more cases of school ‘bubbles’ being sent home.

But it is essential that schools remain open – and that those at home continue to get full-time schooling online. Schools and universities must remain open, even if that means tighter restrictions elsewhere. And we must all do our bit to limit the risk.

This is an issue upon which there is cross party support. The Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition have been united for several months on the need for children to remain in school.

Schools face unprecedented challenges in keeping youngsters safe and getting children to focus on the task at hand. The class of 2020 has already missed out, losing a full term and seeing their predecessors suffer the ignominy of the results fiasco. It cannot be allowed to happen again.

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