This Morning Doctor warns that STAFF ROOMS are risk for coronavirus

This Morning doctor insists reopening schools presents a ‘LOWER’ risk than keeping children at home because they’re ‘very unlikely to pass coronavirus on’ to adults

  • Larry Flanagan, general secretary of EIS, joined Dr Sara on This Morning today 
  • Pair discussed reopening of schools and how to keep teachers and pupils safe
  • Dr Sarah said teachers should be careful in staff rooms because of potential risks
  • Meanwhile both suggested older children should consider wearing masks  

A doctor appearing on This Morning has insisted that reopening schools presents a ‘lower’ risk than keeping children at home because they’re ‘very unlikely to pass coronavirus on’ to adults. 

Doctor Sara Kayat joined Larry Flanagan, general secretary of EIS, alongside Ruth Langsford and Eamonn Holmes on the ITV programme today to discuss the reopening of schools. 

Dr Sara told viewers that while transmission between children and teachers within school could be minimal, she said she was more wary of behaviour between staff, explaining: ‘It’s in the staff room that teachers need to be more careful because its more likely adults-to-adults where they’re going to pass it onto one another.’

Her comments come days after Boris Johnson threw down the gauntlet to union leaders blocking the return of pupils to classrooms by insisting the country has a ‘moral duty’ to reopen schools next month. 

Dr Sara Kayat warned that staff rooms could pose an increased coronavirus risk for teachers as schools consider reopening next month

Appearing on the programme today, Larry said the guidelines for opening Scottish schools were ‘very robust.’

However he added: ‘Where our members have concerns is perhaps the area where the guidance doesn’t cover. In the guidance there’s an exultation to physically distance wherever possible.

‘But one of the areas where members would like further guidance is the use of face coverings for pupils, for older pupils.

‘Older pupils  outside of school, they might be required to wear  face coverings on buses, museums but inside school it’s left to personal choice.’

Ruth Langsford and Eamonn Holmes questioned whether children should be asked to wear face coverings upon their return to school next month 

Larry Flanagan appeared on the programme and said he wanted ‘consistency on guidelines’ with regard to pupils wearing face coverings 

‘The guidance at the moment is that face coverings can be worn if a teacher or pupil wishes to wear them.

‘We are concerned that olders students passing the virus on to other students is more significant than younger pupils.

WHY ARE MASKS NOT COMPULSORY IN SCHOOLS? 

In England, the Government has decided that face masks will not be necessary in schools.

Its guidance for schools states that: ‘Wearing a face covering or face mask in schools or other education settings is not recommended.

‘Face coverings may be beneficial for short periods indoors where there is a risk of close social contact with people you do not usually meet and where social distancing and other measures cannot be maintained, for example on public transport or in some shops.

‘This does not apply to schools or other education settings.

‘Schools and other education or childcare settings should therefore not require staff, children and learners to wear face coverings.

‘Changing habits, cleaning and hygiene are effective measures in controlling the spread of the virus.’

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said: ‘If you’re in a space with the same people repeatedly and for long periods of time, whether an office or a classroom, then a mask doesn’t actually protect them.’

 

‘If you have 30 to 25 young adults in a classroom, then face coverings might be an issue of safety.’

Larry added: ‘We would like consistency between inside and outside of school.’

Meanwhile he went on: ‘Interestingly in our survey two thirds of our members supported measures to reopen school, but only one in five expressed confidence in these safety measures.’

Larry said he felt people had a ‘general support for schools reopening but a lot of anxiety.’

He explained: ‘A lot of older pupils are concerned about catching virus and taking it back into the home. 

‘I wouldn’t be surprised if we see a number of parents keeping their children at home until they see how the virus develops.’

He added: ‘We have to make sure we can maintain safety across the whole school year so that staff and pupils can have confidence.’

Dr Sara explained: ‘I completely understand the anxieties around it. It’s been five months. But we have to look at the science.

‘From a big study from UCL in May, children are 50 per cent less likely to catch coronavirus and when they do the symptoms are very mild in the majority of cases.

‘A new preliminary study by PHE says transmission is very low and poses little to no risk.’

Eamonn asked the doctor if she would be happy to return to work if she was a teacher, and she explained: ‘Personally yes, as a doctor I’m already face-to-face with a lot of patients. 

‘As a teacher, when you’re with people who are very unlikely to pass it on to you, I’m not worried about the children.’

She went on to warn of the risk of the staff room, before adding that wearing a mask ‘had to be one of those voluntary type things.’ 

She said: ‘The younger children probably don’t understand the importance of not touching the face. 

‘It might have to be the older students, who might want to wear one anyway when they’ve thought it through.’

Meanwhile Larry warned teachers would face a ‘big challenge’ addressing the impact of lockdown on young people as they return to schools in September 

Meanwhile Larry went on to tell Eamonn that the school year wouldn’t just be able to return to normal, explaining: ‘It’ll be an even bigger challenge of addressing the impact of lockdown on young people which could have been traumatic for young people. Schools will have to focus on the wellbeing of young people.’ 

Dr Sara added that parents and children should focus on hand hygiene.

She said: ‘The minute you step into the house, you wash your hands and don’t touch anything else.

‘The risks are very low in schools and the risk of not sending children to school are more considerate.’

In an article for The Mail on Sunday, the Prime Minister declared that a resumption of normal teaching is now his ‘national priority’. 

Boris Johnson has called it a ‘national priority’ for schools to reopen  in September after they first closed in March amid the coronavirus pandemic 

 The rallying cry will further crank up the political pressure over the issue, which is fast becoming a totemic test of the Government’s ability to reboot the economy and move the country safely out of lockdown.

Mr Johnson writes: ‘Now that we know enough to reopen schools to all pupils safely, we have a moral duty to do so.’

Pupils were sent home at the start of lockdown in March, and only the children of key workers have been able to enjoy a measure of normal classroom teaching since then.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson has come under intense pressure as critics warned that the lay-off was widening the educational divide between rich and poor, and preventing many parents from returning to the workplace.

Mr Johnson’s words come after Dr Mary Bousted, head of the National Education Union, urged schools to ignore ‘threatening noises’ from the Government and refuse to reopen if they feel it is unsafe.

Many parents have been angered after schools told them they will educate their children only until lunchtime on at least one day of the week, on the grounds that they need time to implement extra safety requirements such as deep cleaning and staggered break times.

Pupils pose NO RISK of spreading Covid, study reveals 

A landmark coronavirus study has found the risk of transmission in classrooms is minimal, ratcheting up pressure on the Education Secretary to fully reopen schools.

Boris Johnson is understood to have warned that Gavin Williamson’s ‘head will be on the chopping block’ if pupils are not back in lessons next month.

The Prime Minister has declared resuming classes a ‘national priority’ and is planning an advertising blitz to urge anxious parents to send their child back to class.

His campaign was yesterday bolstered by encouraging scientific evidence which found a low threat of catching infection in schools.

Government Sage adviser Professor Russell Viner outlined the forthcoming Public Health England study and stressed that reopening schools was ‘imperative’.

‘A new study that has been done in UK schools confirms there is very little evidence that the virus is transmitted in schools,’ he told the Sunday Times.

‘This is some of the largest data you will find on schools anywhere. Britain has done very well in terms of thinking of collecting data in schools.’ 

The PHE study, which will be published later this year, tested more than 20,000 pupils and 100 teachers.

 

A landmark coronavirus study has found the risk of transmission in classrooms is minimal, ratcheting up pressure on the Education Secretary to fully reopen schools.

Boris Johnson is understood to have warned that Gavin Williamson’s ‘head will be on the chopping block’ if pupils are not back in lessons next month.

The Prime Minister has declared resuming classes a ‘national priority’ and is planning an advertising blitz to urge anxious parents to send their child back to class.

His campaign was yesterday bolstered by encouraging scientific evidence which found a low threat of catching infection in schools.

Government Sage adviser Professor Russell Viner outlined the forthcoming Public Health England study and stressed that reopening schools was ‘imperative’.

‘A new study that has been done in UK schools confirms there is very little evidence that the virus is transmitted in schools,’ he told the Sunday Times.

‘This is some of the largest data you will find on schools anywhere. Britain has done very well in terms of thinking of collecting data in schools.’

The PHE study, which will be published later this year, tested more than 20,000 pupils and 100 teachers.

 

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