United Kingdom: schools re-open under a heavy fire of criticism

Royaume-Uni: les écoles rouvrent sous un feu nourri de critiques

LONDON | The british schools re-open partially on Monday, an essential step, but delicate déconfinement wanted by the authorities, judged to be premature by many parents, teacher unions and local communities.

The United Kingdom, with more than 38 000 deaths tested positive, is the second country in the most grief-stricken by the pandemic, after the United States and even, according to several comparative studies, the first in terms of excess mortality compared to the population.

Criticized for having been slow to act, the conservative government of Boris Johnson is now trying to restart an economy in bern.

But the first slight easing of the containment decreed on march 23, took place in the confusion of mid-may, this has not settled the controversy caused by the displacement of Dominic Cummings, the influential adviser to Boris Johnson.

As of Monday, the raising of six people outside will be allowed in England, allowing families or friends to meet in a park or share a barbecue. The 2.2 million people identified as the most vulnerable and forced to isolate themselves totally will be able to get out safely. The car dealers and the markets standing outside will be able to resume their activity.

In schools, only pupils aged 4 to 6 and 10 to 11 years, approximately 2 million students, should return Monday, their classmates.

In the world teacher, the decision goes wrong.

The national Union of Education calls for more “tests and robust scientific evidence” to “reopen the time”, and the Association of School and College Leaders are concerned about “logistical issues important.”

“We can’t really promise the parents that their babies will stay two meters away from each other all the time,” admitted Bryony Baynes, director of a primary school in Worcester (west of England).

“Go ahead,”

The parents are not all reassured by the prospect of the return of their offspring on the benches of the school. According to a study conducted by the national foundation for research in the field of education with 1,200 school principals, they expect that 46% of families keep their children at home.

The principals of schools where the most disadvantaged children, benefiting from free meals, expect a absenteeism more important (50 %) than those in the friendly little (42 %).

“I understand that some don’t want to see the schools resume already. But we need to move forward and we must also ensure that our children do not regress,” argued the minister of Education, Gavin Williamson, the conservative daily The Daily Telegraph.

The children’s commissioner Anne Longfield, has called in the same newspaper on the government to organize summer courses in July and August to help the children of the “most needy” to catch up the delay during the months of confinement.

“It is a delicate moment”, admitted the minister responsible for Enterprise, Alok Sharma, who was interviewed Monday by the BBC on the déconfinement. He assured that the government actions were “prudent” and “gradual”, explaining that “nobody (wanted to) see the second pic of contamination”.

This strategy déconfinement relies on a system to track the sick of the COVID-19 and to contact the people with whom they were in contact. The government announced on Saturday that now be in the ability to screen 200 000 people per day.

Not totally convinced by the calendar that the local authorities of dozens of cities and / or counties English have asked their schools to wait before welcoming new students, arguing inter alia that the schools scottish and north-irish will re-open not before August and September.

These fears concerning the back-to-school echo those of some members of the scientific committee responsible for advising the government on the new coronavirus.

Professor John Edmunds, who is a member, has estimated that it was “risky”, or even “dangerous” to proceed to the next step of the déconfinement with still several thousands of infections per day (approximately 8 000 per day in England).

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