Make Education Safe Again - where we really are right now.
🧵This is a very important video about the pandemic.
Dr. Richard Horton is Editor-in-Chief of The Lancet , a United Kingdom–based medical journal. He's an honorary professor at the London School of Tropical Med, Univ. College London & University of Oslo pic.twitter.com/AClabFsAeP— Cleavon MD 💉 (@Cleavon_MD) July 17, 2021
Lots of talk of new modelling showing cases falling in November onwards— Dr Amir Khan GP (@DrAmirKhanGP) October 25, 2021
This largely relies on allowing children to become infected with Covid, a dangerous and unpredictable route to take
I spoke on this on GMB today@dgurdasani1 pic.twitter.com/4xpH8XTNtP
IndependentSAGE have issued detailed guidelines on how to make schools safe for children, teachers and parents and ultimately for the wider community, to reduce to a minimum the spread of the COVID virus within schools, if not to stop transmission entirely. Prepared by a collective of experts in epidemiology, virology, public health, education, data modelling, social care, human behaviour and other areas pertinent to handing an epidemic/pandemic. It is not rocket science.
IndependentSAGE issued similar guidelines at the end of Summer 2020, guidelines which the English Government dismissed. We saw what happened as a result. Then we did not have vaccines, now we do. Then we did not have Delta, now we do. Everything has changed, and yet the English Government's policy is, if anything, more reckless than before. Schools are still unsafe for everyone involved, and for the wider community.
The effects on some children of SARS-COV2 infection leading to COVID19 disease and long Covid include toxic shock syndrome and other unpredictable adverse outcomes which are related to 'super-antigens' found within the virus. There is still so much that is unknown, and in American and Israel where they 'opened up' after vaccination programs for adults were rolled out, outcomes for children exposed to Delta appear to be more intense than with previous variants.
More children were presenting with adverse health outcomes than previously.
But for the children and parents involved no amount of minimising the population level impact as a small percentage offers any comfort.
Not least when uncontrolled spread of the virus in the community is avoidable.
In recent months IndependentSAGE has issued detailed advice on making schools as safe as they can be to prevent uncontrolled spread of the virus, and the harms to children that will entail, all avoidable harms.
September : https://www.independentsage.org/september-2021-an-urgent-plan-for-safer-schools/
October : https://www.independentsage.org/independent-sage-response-to-the-20th-october-press-conference-by-health-secretary-sajid-javid-we-need-a-winter-plan-now/
Urging extreme caution, requesting mitigations be re-established in nationally to prevent surge of infections, and the harms associated with all of that.
SARS-CoV-2 suppression, rather than attempting to live with the virus, creates best outcomes for health, the economy, and civil liberties. By every measure living with the virus causes more harms. Three studies confirm this.
1, Elimination aka suppression of community transmission reduces incidence, prevents uncontrolled spread, avoids the need for lockdowns, protects people's health, civil liberties and economies.
2 . The Westminster Government has failed to protect the right to health of the English people.
3. Human Rights study of UK Governance during 2020/21 with regards to Corona Virus, and upholding the populations Right to Health.
This is an Italian academic study of the way Government and Science were set within the ongoing epidemic. The Government failed on multiple counts to accept proven epidemiological scientific and public health advice, and this, combined with a News Media that allowed, and continues to allow that neglect free passage, created an environment of zero accountability.
What are schools for, and why should they be safe for children, teachers, parents and the wider community?
What is Education for?
We all accept that Education is a necessary institution, We are a learning species. It's something we do really, really well, often independent of formal instruction.
John Taylor Gatto, a teacher who won many, many awards for his work with children, educating in urban and rural areas of deprivation in New York. He won those awards for the results of his advocacy as a teacher, in deprived areas, beyond delivering the curriculum, teaching and advocating for better support, as an activist teacher, by being a superb, kind, empathic friend and advocate for all the children - being real, congruent, honest and creative in terms of helping the children resolving social educational problems in real time. His efforts changed many, many lives for the better, and he influenced the Education system in New York, and beyond, to good effect.
Mr. Gatto, upon being awarded Best Teacher in New York for a third time, decided to use the opportunity of the award ceremony to quit, publicly. Here are the first few lines of his award speech, where he accepted the award and rejected the system that gave it to him. A very brave thing to do.
Mr. Gatto quit close to the end of a long and distinguished career, because he did not want to harm any children. His quitting was symbolic, piece of public theatre, on behalf of all children, everywhere. An appeal to the power, into their faces, so that there could be no confusing it with a roast.
I'd not ask working teachers to do that, go that far. I know teaching is a complex activity, with many demands and needs to be met, equally well. Being responsible for a class or a year or a school is intense.
I would say instead, "give his words some thought".
How do we stand and advocate for the children, beyond the teaching role itself?
How do we and how do students explore and learn together, to meet this situation?
What we are witnessing today in England is a massive failure by Government, by the Department of Education and to a lessor degree head teachers, teachers and parents to do the latter - to deal critically and creatively with reality and discover how to participate in the transformation of their world for the best possible outcomes for all concerned. Collectively England's adults are failing to avoid avoidable harms to their own and each others children.
England's primary and secondary schools are not COVID safe, and neither are it's universities and yet Government has ordered that all students return to full time study without the necessary protections in place, without the non pharmaceutical interventions that ought to be mandated and supported by Government that would make schools safe for all involved. Does it have to be this way?.
37 billion budget for two years of an inadequate test, trace system without funded isolation against £68 billion on furlough and even still community transmission is now at higher levels than it was this time last year. This is what lack of clarity, lack of due diligence in Government applying itself to the science delivers.
That much needed clarity is not coming from the English Government, that much is clear. This timeline of scientific advice compared to Government policy choices, which I mentioned above, prepared by IndependentSAGE, a collective of experts in the full range of issues related to COVID, illustrates that with absolute accuracy. The English government's claim to be 'following the science' is untrue. It is a lie.
Solidarity in protecting our children's best interests in this situation is the pathway to work the changes we need to bring about to make education safe again. And when the pandemic is over, can we do something about bullying in our schools where 1 in 5 students report being bullied whilst on school premises? Actually, no - we need to deal with that at the same time. We cannot let bullying slide, in any sphere of our lives. We can chew gum and walk.
I wrote a blog a few weeks back about solidarity, the need for a union of students, parents and teachers working from an evidence base. The best practice covid principles are outlined in the IndependentSAGE report on schools listed above. This blog on solidarity lists the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child, a study on Right to Health in terms of the English Government's response to COVID and other pertinent pieces of Law and legislation.
Then this on October 1st. Johnson's most important metric. And he's lying, of course.
Boris Johnson tonight on the BBC "I've given you the most important metric which is, never mind life expectancy, never mind cancer outcomes, look at wage growth."— Ian Lavery MP (@IanLaveryMP) October 1, 2021
Ghastly appalling disregard for our people. pic.twitter.com/TmOLV3k2Wh
"Do what you love, it is your gift to universe."