Here on Plague Island, school children who do not have access to laptops for remote learning, or who cannot work from home, are to be classed as vulnerable. These children will be allowed to go to school during this latest national lockdown along with children originally classified as vulnerable, and key worker’s children.
The Education Committee Chair, Robert Halfon, told The Sun newspaper:
It’s really good news for hard working parents that children who have no remote access will now be able to attend school. This will make a huge difference and mean that these children will not be forgotten or left behind once again.
Most parents want their children to be able to access education at school. It is a safe assumption that no-one who usually sends their child to school really wants their child to learn at home, missing not only face-to-face learning experiences, but also the social connections between their friends and teachers.
There must be many different reasons why remote learning might not work for some families and children: they might not have any technology/have technology but no connection/have both, but the environment is not suitable for learning, for whatever reason.
But the solution cannot be simply labelling these children as ‘vulnerable’ so they can be sent back to school.
Schools are proven to have acted, and still be acting as vectors in transmitting this virus. Surely, the more children who are sent to school means there’s more people for the virus to spread to. How does allowing more children back into school prevent or slow the transmission of the disease at this critical time? Surely, a solution would be to provide tailored support to these families and children? IT equipment could be given to children who do not have provision. It becomes slightly more problematic if the issue is one of connectivity i.e. access to broadband or living in an area without reliable connections/little or no phone signal. However, there are ways around these issues, such as mobile access points using a dongle.
The bottom line is that Our Betters do not want to invest money in the items needed to provide crucial resources to children and families in order to keep us and our communities safe from Covid.
This is coming at the same time London Mayor Sadiq Khan has declared a ‘Major Incident’ in London due to the volume of Covid cases.
(And international arrivals by boat, train or plane will need to test negative for Covid when coming to Plague Island from next week, 10 months after the disease first hit us. Its a good move, but, gate, horse and bolted spring to mind).
~ L&A 8.1.21 ~