With coronavirus infection rates slowly starting to rise again in some parts of England, the Children’s Commissioner has suggested that pubs and shops may have to close to allow schools to reopen in September.
Schools minister Nick Gibb insisted on Wednesday morning that schools reopening in September remains a “priority”, but will the Government have to sacrifice other sectors to ensure that the gates to Britain’s schools are thrown open?
Just last week, Professor Chris Whitty warned that “we have probably reached the limit of what we can do” to open up the UK, which suggests that compromises may have to be made to unlock other parts of Britain’s society.
As the Children's Commissioner Anne Longfield has suggested, should the Government reimpose restrictions to enable children to get back to school? Is closing pubs a sensible compromise?
Read on to see what your fellow readers have had to say and then share your thoughts in the comments section below.
‘An absolute disgrace’
“After six months of the pointless closure of schools, our children's education has suddenly become a priority, almost overnight! They talk of children returning to school in September as though that was an achievement of some kind, when in fact it is an absolute disgrace.
“We can note too that the notion to close pubs in order to open schools? It is daft idea number 437, the latest piece in the continuing Monty Pythonesque approach to problem solving. Wonder what tomorrow will bring.”
‘The Prime Minister has gone missing again’
“So why educate children when they will never have any prospects of ever being employed. Someone needs to get a grip but I'm at a loss as to think who?
“I had hoped that our Prime Minister might have an idea, but he seems to have gone AWOL again.”
‘Shut the pubs’
“Unless children and teachers wear masks (clean, free provided twice daily) in class rooms that are disinfected daily, opening schools will be like opening a super highway between households for the virus.
“Shut the pubs in any case. Only allow seated restaurants where proper measures can be maintained.”
‘Bring it on’
“Here's a radical idea: Let the schools reopen, all workers return to work, service sector? Bring it on. Public transport up and running fully. Alongside that, let's cut the doom and gloom.
“It's not a case of what we can or can't open up and choose one area of society over another. That's just not a choice we have. It's a rock and a hard place. It's time for this government to be honest with us and govern. There is simply no other choice.”
‘Stop looking for excuses’
“The teaching unions, headteachers and teachers, should be doing everything to make it possible for our schools to be back to normal in September, not looking for excuses to keep them closed.
“Our children and grandchildren have a right to education and the teachers should be doing everything possible to ensure that happens.
“The biggest mistake was keeping them on full wages for all this time, whilst they sat at home doing nothing.”
‘Cat and mouse’
“Not even mentioning saving the NHS anymore, are they? Relax restrictions, then reintroduce them, cat and mouse, keeping the transmission rate deliberately low enough to make herd immunity decades away.
“Does the Government really expect everyone to live like this for the foreseeable future?”
‘Germany has managed it’
“Why don't we open the schools and shut the Government down instead? Problem solved.
“Germany has managed to send their kids to school, keep the shops open and bars. Here we have to cut our legs off to keep the R value down.”
‘The Children’s commissioner is right’
“The Children’s commissioner is right, she isn't saying they should shut pubs and shops, but if they are going to shut things schools should be the last thing shut.”
'Not at the cost of pubs'
“My granddaughter went back to school, albeit for only three weeks, and she didn’t get the virus, nor did any of her peers. Her brothers didn’t get it either at their preschool, to which they returned June 1.
“And their other grandmother is a high risk shielder. It was decided to send them back for some normality in their childhood. It was a risk taken and proved to be the right decision. They all loved their touch with normality.
“With sensible hygiene kids must go back to school, but not at the cost of pubs.”
‘We need to be measured’
“'Children are our future.' OK, but without a viable economy for their parents to work in, to provide a roof over their head, and food on their table, what does that future hold ?
“Responses to this pandemic should be measured, and look at the bigger picture, not just the needs of any Minister's current portfolio.”
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