Recent figures show why the pressure from Tory connected lobby groups to reopen schools for wholesale face to face learning – and that primary school children do not get infected or spread the virus – are just plain wrong. (1)
And this shows why.
Pressure is on from the deeply misnamed “Covid Recovery Group” of Tory MPs and the “Us for Them” lobby – which argues that “natural immunity” should be allowed to build up, presumably by letting everyone get the illness and allowing God to choose his own – for Primary schools especially to be reopened well before it is safe to do so. Because, if you’re argument is that lockdowns are an obstacle to the most rapid spread of herd immunity via survival of the fittest, all this namby-pamby concern with health and wellbeing is simply evidence of the decline in our moral fibre.
“Us for Them” has had far more access to Ministers than the far larger and more representative “Parents United Against Unsafe Schools”, getting a response from Gavin Williamson to their petition against mask wearing in schools – which had just 16,588 names on it – while he ignored one from PUAUS against fining parents keeping their children off school for safety concerns – which had 288,294. They have also met DFE officials twice in advance of key decisions, while PUAUS have not been met at all, despite regular requests. (2)
As both UsForThem and the Covid Recovery Group are being advised by failed Conservative candidate for derby South, former Boris Johnson leadership campaigner and Westminster PR man Ed Barker; this looks like a case of “its who you know, not what you know- let alone how much support you have.”
Premature reopening will make control of the virus impossible – and therefore allow the potential evolution of more infectious or lethal variants – meaning that either we have a far higher number of deaths or that we are continually going in and out of lockdowns, with no recovery in either the economy of learning. We need a zero covid strategy.