Schools should absolutely not reopen in lockdown level three

Ideas

Schools should absolutely not reopen in lockdown level three

Government does not prioritise children and teachers. If it did, thousands of educators would not be dead

Columnist

Officially, about 2,000 teachers have died of Covid-19. Think about that.

Let us assume that it took four years to train each of them, the basic duration of an education degree (BED) or a three-year general Bachelor’s degree, with an additional year of teacher training (PGCE). Older teachers might hold a certificate of two or three years, but consider that washed out by the many hours of in-service teacher training during the course of a career. So four years it is, and for 2,000 teachers that means these deaths count as 8,000 years of teacher training lost in one year because of the pandemic. For an education planner, that staggering loss of teaching expertise is a disaster; for the families of the deceased, the loss is an unfathomable tragedy. Should schools reopen as scheduled?

In a heart-rending story first reported by the Los Angeles Times, children were found apologising to their elders who were dying in hospital beds. The youngsters brought the virus home. Last time I wrote about a friend who had heart-transplant surgery and whose wife was an active teacher. Well, he is now ashes. But our department of basic education is steaming ahead to reopen schools on January 25, regardless of the human toll...

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