Last night I watched the BBC TV 6 0’clock news with an item about a primary school in the north of England. The presenter, Branwen Jeffreys, showed us a school and its preparations to deal with the return of pupils after the long break caused by the corona virus pandemic, and the steps the head had taken “to ensure that the children were safe”. It was clear that neither the head teacher nor the presenter knew that the corona virus was harmless to children, nor that children outside a classroom will mingle and be in close physical contact with each other.
Desks were 2 metres apart resulting in most of the classroom being empty, toys and other equipment that children might handle had been removed. Bookcases had been taped across with yellow and black warning tape to prevent the use of books.
To my mind this was shocking: dangerous to the mental well-being of children, totally unnecessary and a gross waste of resources. I don’t believe education can function in such a set-up. I was shocked that a teacher and, apparently the BBC’s Education Correspondent, should think this was an acceptable approach to the current corona-virus outbreak.
How are we educating our children? To fear coming near to another human being in case they catch a deadly disease? To believe that the very air is potentially lethal? That toys, educational equipment, and books cannot be shared because of the terrible danger of catching a deadly infection? To be obsessive about hand washing? To grow up anxious and deeply fearful of the world? This is not healthy or appropriate education.
Picture Philadelphia Inquirer
David Roberts 1st June 2020