More than 1,000,000 school children face tougher Covid restrictions

Pupils have been ‘disproportionately burdened by pandemic restrictions’, campaigners have warned.

10/23/2021 2:42:00 PM

Pupils have been ‘disproportionately burdened by pandemic restrictions’, campaigners have warned.

Pupils have been ‘disproportionately burdened by pandemic restrictions’, campaigners have warned.

sent pupils home on Thursday after 161 students and 17 staff were absent – almost all due to infections or isolation requirements.The secondary school said in a statement how it did not believe it was safe to keep students in school with reduced staffing – which makes it ‘increasingly difficult to maintain high standards of education and safety’.

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Two schools in Herefordshire also decided to close one day early to allow for a 10-day ‘fire break’.Now 12 councils are believed to be advising secondary school pupils to wear masks in communal areas at school.Year eight pupils at Moor End Academy in Huddersfield wearing face masks in September 2020 – as some schools reintroduce the policy (Picture: Oli Scarff/AFP via Getty Images)

Walsall Council has pleaded for schools to reintroduce ‘Covid secure’ measures including class bubbles, staggered lunch breaks and moving all ‘non-essential events’ online, following a ‘rapid rise’ in cases.Staff and pupils over 12 will be asked to wear face coverings in communal areas, according to the

Birmingham Mail.And an ‘exceptional’ number of Covid infections has also prompted schools in Windsor and Maidenhead to reduce ‘unnecessary mixing’ and re-introduce face masks, theWindsor Expressreported.But Molly Kingsley, co-founder of parent campaign group, UsforThem, warned parents are ‘despairing’ over the crisis, which has left children ‘disproportionately burdened by pandemic restrictions’.

Boris Johnson meets pupils at Westbury-On-Trym Church of England Academy in Bristol this month – as it was claimed children have been ‘disproportionately burdened by pandemic restrictions’ (Picture: REUTERS)‘The Government ought to be worried about the detrimental impact this is having on children,’ she said.

The Government is also facing criticism over its Covid testing regime – with the president of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, Dr Camilla Kingdon, demanding an end to lateral flow tests in secondary schools, blaming them for causing ‘unnecessary chaos’.

Some schools are now set to introduce self-isolation rules for children if a sibling or another household member tests positive – including those covered by councils in Calderdale, Cheshire East and Suffolk.Prime Minister Boris Johnson earlier said he had ‘absolutely no plan to introduce Plan B’.

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But yesterday he admitted all measures would be kept ‘under constant review’ – as ministers press ahead with the vaccine and booster programme, nicknamed ‘Plan A’.Mr Johnson said: ‘We do whatever we have to do to protect the public but the numbers that we’re seeing at the moment are fully in line with what we expected in the autumn and winter plan.

Teenager Katie Moore pictured receiving the Covid vaccine at a centre in Glasgow in August this year (Picture: JEFF J MITCHELL/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)‘What we want people to do is to come forward and get their jabs.‘We also want young people, we want kids at school, to be getting their jabs.’

A Department for Education spokesman said: ‘Our priority is protecting face-to-face education, and vaccinations and regular testing are the best defence against the virus.‘The protective measures in place in schools strike a balance between managing transmission risk – with enhanced ventilation, regular Covid testing and vaccinations of older students and staff – and reducing disruption to education by removing the need for close contacts in bubbles to self-isolate and for face coverings to be worn in most cases.’

Read more: Metro »

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