Back to school

Covid-19 discussion, bring your own statistics
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FlammableFlower
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Re: Back to school

Post by FlammableFlower » Mon Oct 26, 2020 9:09 pm

Just in time for the half-term hols we've had a message that there's been a positive case in each of Year 7 and Year 11 of the children's school. Cases were unrelated too.

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Re: Back to school

Post by bolo » Mon Oct 26, 2020 10:02 pm

BoloJr's school has just announced that it will switch from all-online to 2 in-person days per week, starting at the end of January, if nothing changes between now and then.

If nothing changes between now and the end of January? It's good to have a plan, I guess, but 3 months is an eternity in Covid time.

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Re: Back to school

Post by Bird on a Fire » Tue Oct 27, 2020 10:11 am

bolo wrote:
Mon Oct 26, 2020 10:02 pm
BoloJr's school has just announced that it will switch from all-online to 2 in-person days per week, starting at the end of January, if nothing changes between now and then.

If nothing changes between now and the end of January? It's good to have a plan, I guess, but 3 months is an eternity in Covid time.
Yeah, I mean something will definitely have changed.

I wonder if the announcement is merely an expedient sop to reduce hassle from people demanding a return to F2F?
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Re: Back to school

Post by badger » Mon Nov 02, 2020 10:38 am

So here we are entering Lockdown2 and schools are to stay open. I assume the Cost/Benefit is such that we can still get R below 1 in next 4 weeks with them open, and this might keep some semblance of life going for society, economy and individuals (inc mental health).

It's an interesting bet and many aren't happy with it (keeping schools open, specifically) but there's a lack of decent debate, in part caused by the Govts refusal to lay out much of a case by way of explanation.

The NEU, the largest teaching union, has called for schools to be included in the lockdown too.

https://neu.org.uk/press-releases/close ... -lockdown

I have some sympathy for them, but their argument and proposal seems misguided. Union boss says:
It is clear from ONS data that schools are an engine for virus transmission. It would be self-defeating for the Government to impose a national lockdown, whilst ignoring the role of schools as a major contributor to the spread of the virus.
Well, yes, the virus mainly spreads by close social contact, and schools are a part of that, but I don't think they're "ignoring" the role of schools by not closing them and it's wrong to say so.

But what I find most revealing is that their demand doesn't include anything regarding teaching children during their proposed school lockdown, only after, and nothing about current and possible future measures to reduce transmission in schools (eg more effective testing, masks in primaries a la France). I can get with rotas and blended learning when they go back, as proposed, but once again avoiding the issue of trying to keep some kind of education going during a full lockdown is avoided, and that gives off the impression, amplified by anti-Union press and commentators, that children are actually quite low down in their list of priorities (I know their a teacher's union and not a student's union, but still).

It seems to me that if they really wanted to give the Govt a kicking, they could and should have been much more vocal about the lack of IT and broadband for remote learning from the off, and should be using this as an opportunity to twist the knife, instead of waffle and misrepresenting stats. Trying to stop teachers from having to Work From Home when much of the rest of the country is seems misguided and more likely to alienate them from any sympathy vote (and they can work from near empty schools, anyway).

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Re: Back to school

Post by mediocrity511 » Mon Nov 02, 2020 11:29 am

badger wrote:
Mon Nov 02, 2020 10:38 am
So here we are entering Lockdown2 and schools are to stay open. I assume the Cost/Benefit is such that we can still get R below 1 in next 4 weeks with them open, and this might keep some semblance of life going for society, economy and individuals (inc mental health).

It's an interesting bet and many aren't happy with it (keeping schools open, specifically) but there's a lack of decent debate, in part caused by the Govts refusal to lay out much of a case by way of explanation.

The NEU, the largest teaching union, has called for schools to be included in the lockdown too.

https://neu.org.uk/press-releases/close ... -lockdown

I have some sympathy for them, but their argument and proposal seems misguided. Union boss says:
It is clear from ONS data that schools are an engine for virus transmission. It would be self-defeating for the Government to impose a national lockdown, whilst ignoring the role of schools as a major contributor to the spread of the virus.
Well, yes, the virus mainly spreads by close social contact, and schools are a part of that, but I don't think they're "ignoring" the role of schools by not closing them and it's wrong to say so.

But what I find most revealing is that their demand doesn't include anything regarding teaching children during their proposed school lockdown, only after, and nothing about current and possible future measures to reduce transmission in schools (eg more effective testing, masks in primaries a la France). I can get with rotas and blended learning when they go back, as proposed, but once again avoiding the issue of trying to keep some kind of education going during a full lockdown is avoided, and that gives off the impression, amplified by anti-Union press and commentators, that children are actually quite low down in their list of priorities (I know their a teacher's union and not a student's union, but still).

It seems to me that if they really wanted to give the Govt a kicking, they could and should have been much more vocal about the lack of IT and broadband for remote learning from the off, and should be using this as an opportunity to twist the knife, instead of waffle and misrepresenting stats. Trying to stop teachers from having to Work From Home when much of the rest of the country is seems misguided and more likely to alienate them from any sympathy vote (and they can work from near empty schools, anyway).
But the government has already given schools a legal duty to be able to switch immediately to online learning in case of closures or if students are isolating. I think 27th of October was the date by which plans needed to be in place by. So they aren't saying what should happen in the event of a school closure because that is already decided, legally mandated and schools are ready.

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Re: Back to school

Post by badger » Mon Nov 02, 2020 11:50 am

mediocrity511 wrote:
Mon Nov 02, 2020 11:29 am
badger wrote:
Mon Nov 02, 2020 10:38 am
*Snip*
But the government has already given schools a legal duty to be able to switch immediately to online learning in case of closures or if students are isolating. I think 27th of October was the date by which plans needed to be in place by. So they aren't saying what should happen in the event of a school closure because that is already decided, legally mandated and schools are ready.
Ah yes, fair enough re legal mandate but wasn't sure if that applied in full lockdown or whether it was for instances of bubble and individual school closures during normal/Tiered times. There would have to be new legislation anyway? More importantly their press release (and campaigning) reads like it doesn't exist, and they do specifically mention provision for children of key workers, so they are discussing what should happen to some kids during lockdown but not others. It's still poor messaging from them, I think.

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Re: Back to school

Post by mediocrity511 » Mon Nov 02, 2020 12:32 pm

badger wrote:
Mon Nov 02, 2020 11:50 am
mediocrity511 wrote:
Mon Nov 02, 2020 11:29 am
badger wrote:
Mon Nov 02, 2020 10:38 am
*Snip*
But the government has already given schools a legal duty to be able to switch immediately to online learning in case of closures or if students are isolating. I think 27th of October was the date by which plans needed to be in place by. So they aren't saying what should happen in the event of a school closure because that is already decided, legally mandated and schools are ready.
Ah yes, fair enough re legal mandate but wasn't sure if that applied in full lockdown or whether it was for instances of bubble and individual school closures during normal/Tiered times. There would have to be new legislation anyway? More importantly their press release (and campaigning) reads like it doesn't exist, and they do specifically mention provision for children of key workers, so they are discussing what should happen to some kids during lockdown but not others. It's still poor messaging from them, I think.
https://www.thegazette.co.uk/notice/3642261

The notice seems pretty wide ranging and would include any reason relating to coronavirus for children not attending. So they are calling for an order for schools to be closed, with exemptions for key worker and vulnerable children and the education for all other children is already decided under the regulations already in place.

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Re: Back to school

Post by badger » Mon Nov 02, 2020 2:20 pm

mediocrity511 wrote:
Mon Nov 02, 2020 12:32 pm
badger wrote:
Mon Nov 02, 2020 11:50 am
mediocrity511 wrote:
Mon Nov 02, 2020 11:29 am


But the government has already given schools a legal duty to be able to switch immediately to online learning in case of closures or if students are isolating. I think 27th of October was the date by which plans needed to be in place by. So they aren't saying what should happen in the event of a school closure because that is already decided, legally mandated and schools are ready.
Ah yes, fair enough re legal mandate but wasn't sure if that applied in full lockdown or whether it was for instances of bubble and individual school closures during normal/Tiered times. There would have to be new legislation anyway? More importantly their press release (and campaigning) reads like it doesn't exist, and they do specifically mention provision for children of key workers, so they are discussing what should happen to some kids during lockdown but not others. It's still poor messaging from them, I think.
https://www.thegazette.co.uk/notice/3642261

The notice seems pretty wide ranging and would include any reason relating to coronavirus for children not attending. So they are calling for an order for schools to be closed, with exemptions for key worker and vulnerable children and the education for all other children is already decided under the regulations already in place.
Indeed they are, and to spend (some of) the time planning for rota/blended learning when "schools return" (but they're not going away). It's poor language and looks like they're avoiding reference to legislation they campaigned against and the online schooling they advised members to refrain from since March. Their social media campaign/petition/email-your-MP makes no reference either and simply refers to Govt having better IT and broadband for students when "schools return" (but why not now?)

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Re: Back to school

Post by jimbob » Sun Nov 08, 2020 9:39 pm

My daughter (Y13) is now self-isolating after someone in her biology class has tested positive
Have you considered stupidity as an explanation

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Re: Back to school

Post by Bird on a Fire » Mon Nov 09, 2020 10:13 am

My wife is starting a further education course today. Portugal is also entering a state of emergency this evening. So far the plan is for a mix of face to face and online, but we'll see how long that lasts.
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Re: Back to school

Post by jimbob » Mon Nov 09, 2020 11:52 am

jimbob wrote:
Sun Nov 08, 2020 9:39 pm
My daughter (Y13) is now self-isolating after someone in her biology class has tested positive
I hadn't realised how angry this has made me - the fact that my daughter's been exposed for something that we know was risky, and with lots of disruption to her A-levels
Have you considered stupidity as an explanation

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Re: Back to school

Post by badger » Mon Nov 09, 2020 12:11 pm

jimbob wrote:
Mon Nov 09, 2020 11:52 am
jimbob wrote:
Sun Nov 08, 2020 9:39 pm
My daughter (Y13) is now self-isolating after someone in her biology class has tested positive
I hadn't realised how angry this has made me - the fact that my daughter's been exposed for something that we know was risky, and with lots of disruption to her A-levels
What's the solution? Isn't this a choice between 100% online school vs Usual school with occasional 2 weeks online?
Or is this more a case of the online provision being poor?

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Re: Back to school

Post by jimbob » Mon Nov 09, 2020 12:43 pm

badger wrote:
Mon Nov 09, 2020 12:11 pm
jimbob wrote:
Mon Nov 09, 2020 11:52 am
jimbob wrote:
Sun Nov 08, 2020 9:39 pm
My daughter (Y13) is now self-isolating after someone in her biology class has tested positive
I hadn't realised how angry this has made me - the fact that my daughter's been exposed for something that we know was risky, and with lots of disruption to her A-levels
What's the solution? Isn't this a choice between 100% online school vs Usual school with occasional 2 weeks online?
Or is this more a case of the online provision being poor?
It's the fact that the government has accepted that we need a lockdown, but she was exposed to the infection during the lockdown period, because schools are still open. And that loads of pupils are going to be exposed to COVID and their peers isolating - causing an unfair disruption to their education.

By the time kids are at secondary school - -or certainly by Y9, they should be able to last a day at home without a parent, so schools for that age up should be online, and probably younger too (although I'm open to persuasion either way for that)
Have you considered stupidity as an explanation

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Re: Back to school

Post by badger » Mon Nov 09, 2020 6:47 pm

jimbob wrote:
Mon Nov 09, 2020 12:43 pm
badger wrote:
Mon Nov 09, 2020 12:11 pm
jimbob wrote:
Mon Nov 09, 2020 11:52 am


I hadn't realised how angry this has made me - the fact that my daughter's been exposed for something that we know was risky, and with lots of disruption to her A-levels
What's the solution? Isn't this a choice between 100% online school vs Usual school with occasional 2 weeks online?
Or is this more a case of the online provision being poor?
It's the fact that the government has accepted that we need a lockdown, but she was exposed to the infection during the lockdown period, because schools are still open. And that loads of pupils are going to be exposed to COVID and their peers isolating - causing an unfair disruption to their education.

By the time kids are at secondary school - -or certainly by Y9, they should be able to last a day at home without a parent, so schools for that age up should be online, and probably younger too (although I'm open to persuasion either way for that)
Fair enough.
What's the difference between the learning she is doing now (presumably at home, online), and what she would be doing if schools had been closed in lockdown (ditto), and also with if she was in school?
The disruption comes whatever the provision, doesn't it?
Sorry if I'm missing something obvious.

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Re: Back to school

Post by mediocrity511 » Tue Nov 10, 2020 2:11 pm

badger wrote:
Mon Nov 09, 2020 6:47 pm
jimbob wrote:
Mon Nov 09, 2020 12:43 pm
badger wrote:
Mon Nov 09, 2020 12:11 pm


What's the solution? Isn't this a choice between 100% online school vs Usual school with occasional 2 weeks online?
Or is this more a case of the online provision being poor?
It's the fact that the government has accepted that we need a lockdown, but she was exposed to the infection during the lockdown period, because schools are still open. And that loads of pupils are going to be exposed to COVID and their peers isolating - causing an unfair disruption to their education.

By the time kids are at secondary school - -or certainly by Y9, they should be able to last a day at home without a parent, so schools for that age up should be online, and probably younger too (although I'm open to persuasion either way for that)
Fair enough.
What's the difference between the learning she is doing now (presumably at home, online), and what she would be doing if schools had been closed in lockdown (ditto), and also with if she was in school?
The disruption comes whatever the provision, doesn't it?
Sorry if I'm missing something obvious.
Educationally, one would guess that lessons planned for online delivery would be of higher quality than ones that have to be instantly adapted. The in and out nature is very disruptive.

Also from a wellbeing perspective, she's now confined to the house. Had she been doing online learning without the self isolating, she'd be able to get out for exercise, fresh air and to meet one friend at a time.

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Re: Back to school

Post by individualmember » Tue Nov 10, 2020 2:28 pm

Massive bust up in the school my wife works in this morning, between staff. The head has had to have ‘words’ with three of them.

The thing that rarely gets mentioned is the stress on the staff. The pressure on them is pretty bad at the moment. Plus of course everyone has multiple roles in their life, my wife for example is the support network for two vulnerable people (one due to age, the other due to compromised immune system) and there’s nothing unusual about that. Schools are a pit of infection at the best of times, and you can’t leave any infection at the gate when you go off to a different section of your existence.

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Re: Back to school

Post by badger » Tue Nov 10, 2020 2:35 pm

mediocrity511 wrote:
Tue Nov 10, 2020 2:11 pm
badger wrote:
Mon Nov 09, 2020 6:47 pm
jimbob wrote:
Mon Nov 09, 2020 12:43 pm


It's the fact that the government has accepted that we need a lockdown, but she was exposed to the infection during the lockdown period, because schools are still open. And that loads of pupils are going to be exposed to COVID and their peers isolating - causing an unfair disruption to their education.

By the time kids are at secondary school - -or certainly by Y9, they should be able to last a day at home without a parent, so schools for that age up should be online, and probably younger too (although I'm open to persuasion either way for that)
Fair enough.
What's the difference between the learning she is doing now (presumably at home, online), and what she would be doing if schools had been closed in lockdown (ditto), and also with if she was in school?
The disruption comes whatever the provision, doesn't it?
Sorry if I'm missing something obvious.
Educationally, one would guess that lessons planned for online delivery would be of higher quality than ones that have to be instantly adapted. The in and out nature is very disruptive.

Also from a wellbeing perspective, she's now confined to the house. Had she been doing online learning without the self isolating, she'd be able to get out for exercise, fresh air and to meet one friend at a time.
Are they instantly adapted? Plans had to be in place for this eventuality, right?

And having to isolate for two weeks is weighed against a more normal life for the rest of the time. Am trying to understand how disruptive it is, when compared to the counter. Am not sure how many teenagers would keep to seeing one friend at time, outside or inside their house, especially if the house is parent-free for most of the day... and that's not a slight on teenagers, I just think it might be an unreasonable temptation for them to contend with, and potentially more disruptive in the long run.

Also, and this is from a very small sample, but my understanding is that it's harder for schools to run completely online, and deliver the same quantity and quality of teaching, partly because a disproportionate amount of staff are taken up with running the on site school for key worker's kids.

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Re: Back to school

Post by mediocrity511 » Tue Nov 10, 2020 3:03 pm

badger wrote:
Tue Nov 10, 2020 2:35 pm
mediocrity511 wrote:
Tue Nov 10, 2020 2:11 pm
badger wrote:
Mon Nov 09, 2020 6:47 pm

Fair enough.
What's the difference between the learning she is doing now (presumably at home, online), and what she would be doing if schools had been closed in lockdown (ditto), and also with if she was in school?
The disruption comes whatever the provision, doesn't it?
Sorry if I'm missing something obvious.
Educationally, one would guess that lessons planned for online delivery would be of higher quality than ones that have to be instantly adapted. The in and out nature is very disruptive.

Also from a wellbeing perspective, she's now confined to the house. Had she been doing online learning without the self isolating, she'd be able to get out for exercise, fresh air and to meet one friend at a time.
Are they instantly adapted? Plans had to be in place for this eventuality, right?

And having to isolate for two weeks is weighed against a more normal life for the rest of the time. Am trying to understand how disruptive it is, when compared to the counter. Am not sure how many teenagers would keep to seeing one friend at time, outside or inside their house, especially if the house is parent-free for most of the day... and that's not a slight on teenagers, I just think it might be an unreasonable temptation for them to contend with, and potentially more disruptive in the long run.

Also, and this is from a very small sample, but my understanding is that it's harder for schools to run completely online, and deliver the same quantity and quality of teaching, partly because a disproportionate amount of staff are taken up with running the on site school for key worker's kids.
Key worker childcare isn't really relevant at secondary school though, barring special needs children.

Teachers are supposed to have plans for online learning straight away. But as close contacts of students are all that is sent home now, they are expected to be simultaneously teaching those children who are in class and those isolating at home. Best they can really do in those circumstances is stick up a webcam and hope for the best. Teaching a fully online class can involve meaningful engagement.

I think it probably comes down in part to how badly affected a school is. I know of children who last half term had 3 periods of self isolation in an 8 week half term. They spent more time isolating than in school and it would have been vastly preferable to just do online education from the start.

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Re: Back to school

Post by bagpuss » Tue Nov 10, 2020 4:01 pm

Well, 2 years of the secondary school and 2 years of the infant school on the same site as the bagkitten's junior school are currently off due to positive tests in the year bubbles. Considering we're still in a relatively low risk area (3,679 estimated cases per million according to ZOE app), this is suddenly feeling a bit worryingly close.

Still no cases in the bagkitten's school but it's got to be just a matter of time, and probably not very much time, at this rate.

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Re: Back to school

Post by Sciolus » Tue Nov 10, 2020 4:14 pm

In other news, Wales and Scotland have scrapped exams for CGSE/A-level/Scottish equivalents, in favour of more frequent "tasks" spread over the year in combination with teacher assessment (details a bit hazy). England is ploughing on with exams as "the only fair way", despite huge disparities in the access to education between children, and are stubbornly refusing to even make contingency plans for when it inevitably all turns to "mess" in August 2021.

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Re: Back to school

Post by Turdly » Tue Nov 10, 2020 7:17 pm

On my phone so I'll not quote the relevant posts but badger, these are the problems I see with the online and face-to-face simultaneously that is caused by self isolation rather than having online as the default (having seen it from an HE perspective).

1. It is not possible for everything to be pre-prepared to be delivered online. When are teachers supposed to have done this?

2. What is prepared has to be a compromise compared to doing online or face-to-face only as they are different formats that require different methods of delivery, formative assessment etc.

3. As face-to-face is prioritised, then online will suffer. Staff simply will not have time to support the online teaching properly if they are spending most of the time in a classroom doing F2F.

In HE, this is just about manageable as only ~40% of my job is supposed to teaching, consequently I can make space by reducing research activities. For a school teacher there isn't that option so all that happens is increased workload.
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Re: Back to school

Post by AMS » Wed Nov 11, 2020 7:34 pm

bagpuss wrote:
Tue Nov 10, 2020 4:01 pm
Well, 2 years of the secondary school and 2 years of the infant school on the same site as the bagkitten's junior school are currently off due to positive tests in the year bubbles. Considering we're still in a relatively low risk area (3,679 estimated cases per million according to ZOE app), this is suddenly feeling a bit worryingly close.

Still no cases in the bagkitten's school but it's got to be just a matter of time, and probably not very much time, at this rate.
The primary in the next catchment to ours has just shut down completely for a week. The word on the grapevine at pick up today was that they have seven staff in self-isolation.

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Re: Back to school

Post by badger » Thu Nov 12, 2020 2:23 pm

Thanks Turdly and, as ever, Mediocrity511. It's a very different ball game for secondary and it's useful to understand why. Certainly for Lockdown II: Lock Lighter, not closing or radically changing Secondary provision has massive potential to backfire, both in terms of community spread and education and mental health of pupils.

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